DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper signed next year's budget for Colorado and it includes more funding for public schools, pay raises for state workers, and money to expand mental health services.
The Democratic governor signed the budget Monday.
"After enduring a significant economic downturn, Colorado’s economy is outperforming the nation’s," Hickenlooper said in a letter to lawmakers. "Some of our recent recovery in revenue is one-time in nature and the budget plan for next year is appropriately prudent and forward-looking. Though many programs are seeing increases, we have also eliminated long-term liabilities, grown our reserve to five percent and ensured some of our new spending is on one-time items."
Improving tax receipts allowed state lawmakers to fund areas of the budget they had cut during the recession. Per-pupil spending at public schools will increase by $172 next year. It's currently about $6,500 per student. Colleges are also getting about $31 million more in funding next year.
State employees will also get a pay increase of two percent -- the first in four years. And lawmakers are using $2.8 million to pay victims of last year's Lower North Fork Fire.
The budget is $20.5 billion, including federal funds and money from the state's general fund.