Colo. Senate passes $20.5B budget, heads to House

DENVER - Next year's budget for Colorado has passed the state Senate with funding increases for public schools, higher education, and money for construction projects at colleges and state buildings.

The budget passed Thursday on a 19-15 vote. All Republicans voted no.

Republicans say budget spending is growing faster than the state economy. But Democrats say they've been prudent and left some aside in savings for future years.

The spending plan also includes a pay raise for state employees -- the first in four years.

The House will now consider the budget.

General fund expenditures, which lawmakers control, are expected to be about $8.2 billion next year, compared to $7.6 billion in the current budget year. The state's total budget, which includes federal money and cash funds, is about $20.5 billion.

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