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Mar 27, 2013 7:51 AM by Eugene Daniels

Colorado Senate to debate next year's budget

DENVER (AP) - Colorado lawmakers will debate next year's spending plan as the improving economy and increasing tax receipts give them more money to spend on education and raises for state employees.

Lawmakers are also looking to strengthen the state's mental health system and increase services for those with developmental disabilities.

The debate begins Wednesday.

The budget doesn't include major cuts like it did during the economic downturn. Schools and colleges will get more money, but lawmakers say those areas of the budget still haven't recovered from all the cuts that have been made in recent years.

The pay raises for state employees are the first in five years.

General fund expenditures, which lawmakers control, are expected to be about $8.2 billion next year, up from $7.6 billion in the current budget year.

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