Colorado: Governor requests spending increases for education, wildfire mitigation and fracking studies

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

State ranks near the bottom for per-pupil funding

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As Colorado’s budget picture continues to brighten, Gov. John Hickenlooper this week requested budget amendments that would boost spending on education and allocate funds to study environmental impacts of energy development and for forest health work.

The 2013-2014 budget will be the first in several years that includes more spending on education and without any big cuts. Overall, the state’s general fund is expected grow by about $.5 billion, from 7.6 billion to $8.1 billion.

State budget officials said Hickenlooper’s request fulfills his intent to spend increased revenue on education, public health, safety and infrastructure. Specifically, spending on k-12 education would increase by $12.8 million, boosting per-student funding to $6,607 dollars, up $228 from last year.

Only a handful of states spend less per pupil than Colorado, including Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, North Carolina. See the rankings here. Top-ranked states like New York, Vermont and Connecticut spend about twice as much per student. Continue reading

Colorado: Budget cuts could hit avalanche center

A small backcountry avalanche near Loveland Pass, Colorado.

Changes in oil and gas severance fund allocations could affect backcountry avalanche forecasting program

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Continuing budget woes in Colorado could result in a big hit for Colorado Avalanche Information Center funding, as lawmakers mull various options to balance the budget.

A laundry list of cuts prepared for the Colorado Joint Budget Committee includes one option that would eliminate oil and severance tax funding for the Colorado Geological Survey. Under that scenario, the CAIC budget could take a $200,000 hit. You can visit the budget committee online here. Continue reading

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