Colorado

Feb 18, 2010 9:12 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Colorado House cutting $475 million from state budget

Colorado lawmakers are slashing jobs and state services in an effort to cut another $475 million from this year's budget, targeting education, prisons and Medicaid patients.

The House approved 31 bills Wednesday that will cut nearly every sector of state government as they work to cut $1.5 billion over the next two years. The bills face a third reading before they head to the Senate.

Lawmakers on Tuesday approved and sent to the governor bills that would raise $118 million over the next two years by eliminating tax breaks and imposing a 2.9 percent state sales tax on items that include candy and soda, downloaded software and pesticides.

Republicans and the lone House independent lawmaker tried to ram through amendments that would force state agencies to cut workers during the current budget crisis, but they succeeded only in cutting $205,000 in the Department of Agriculture. Democrats later reversed that budget cut, saying it was unfair to place the burden on one state agency.

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