DENVER—Today the Senate gave final approval to the state budget for 2008-2009, making critical investments in education, health care and economic development.
Those investments include providing 50,000 more kids with health care, $7.2 million in grant funding for college-bound students, and $13.5 million for economic development projects.
“It takes courage to invest under the threat of economic downturn, but that’s what is needed to minimize the impact of the downturn,” said Senator John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), a member of the powerful Joint Budget Committee. “Some suggest there are torpedoes in the water – we will watch for them. We will take action to avoid them when they are really in the water headed toward us, but we will not avoid the mission out of fear.”
Some Budget Highlights:
Invested in our children by providing thousands more kids with access to the health care they need to grow and learn. Lawmakers also worked to secure an additional $8 million to provide services for disabled persons on a waiting list that far surpasses the number of people receiving aid. Based on recommendations from the 208 Commission, a $43 million increase in provider rates was secured so that more doctors would be willing to treat Medicaid patients.
Invested in Colorado’s education system to ensure that every child can learn in safe, healthy schools and be ready to compete in a global economy. This budget provides 22,000 additional full-day kindergarten slots and adds 70 new school counselors to work with those students through to graduation. In higher education, $63 million was secured to keep college within reach of every Coloradan who wants to attend, as well as $10 million in need-based aid and $53 million to expand the College Opportunity Fund to more than 30,000 students.
Invested in our economy by creating incentives to lure alternative energy companies to Colorado, bringing high-paying jobs and useful technologies to improve the quality of life in our state. Democrats are keeping Colorado competitive in a growing global economy by streamlining and cutting bureaucratic red tape for businesses and investing in new technologies.
“Damn the torpedoes!” said Morse. “They will not keep us from making Colorado the best place it can be to live, to work, to raise a family and to address the hardships in each of our own lives.”