DENVER -- Gov. John Hickenlooper has presented a $28.5 billion proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year that calls for balancing measures affecting transportation and health care spending.
These are the four things you need to know:
It’s a bigger budget
The budget is 3.3 percent larger than this year's. The 2016-2017 fiscal year budget came in at $27.6 billion. It requests $500 million in cuts or transfers in transportation and education funding, among other sources, to make ends meet.
More money for education
School districts across the state have had to operate on shrinking budgets. Denver Public Schools cut more than 170 jobs because of a funding shortfall. The budget proposal asks for a 1.3 percent increase in K-12 funding from last year. The proposal increases the average spending per pupil by $182.00.
Pot revenue for affordable housing
Many are struggling to afford a roof over their heads in an ever-tightening rental and housing market. That’s why the governor’s budget calls for $16 million in marijuana sales tax revenue for affordable housing, housing for those with behavioral health issues, and programs for the homeless. The extra funding, among other projects, will go to building 1,200 permanent housing units for the homeless in five years.
Health care costs
The rising cost of health care is affecting many parts of the budget. The proposal calls for a 4.1 percent increase to fund Colorado’s Medicaid program. The rising cost has also affected the Department of Higher Education. The proposed increase of $20.5 million to the General Fund for the Colorado public higher education system will address operating costs and health care increases for institutions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report