DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper's proposed Colorado budget for next year is influenced by what the state has to pay for historic wildfires and flooding, but the improving economy is allowing for increases to education.
The Hickenlooper administration has been forced to use $122 million for the disasters this year. That's money that could've been used next year on other programs. However, there's enough money to increase funding per pupil by $223 next year to keep pace with inflation and student growth under Hickenlooper's proposal.
Hickenlooper is also proposing restoring higher education funding to exceed pre-recession levels.
Friday's proposed budget is just a first step. Lawmakers will spend months next year working on it.
The budget now doesn't account for next week's vote on a $1 billion tax increase for schools, and a marijuana tax.