Apr 17, 2010 8:57 AM by Associated Press
Legislators have given final approval to a proposed $18.2 billion budget.
The House and Senate voted Friday to readopt the spending plan after reconciling differences between the chambers. It now goes to Gov. Bill Ritter.
The budget, which takes effect in July, reduces spending on public schools by $365 million and adds $9.4 million to open a new solitary confinement unit at the Colorado State Penitentiary.
The part of the budget paid for with tax dollars is expected to increase by about $300 million, or 5 percent, by the time lawmakers pass all the related budget balancing bills. Tax revenues are expected to rise by 5.8 percent after two years of declines. Much of the extra revenue will make up for federal stimulus money that's running out.