The State Senate adopted the annual budget Thursday, approving $9.6 billion dollars for Colorado's general fund to pay for schools, parks, roads and prisons among other state programs. The budget gained unanimous support from Republicans who hold a one-seat majority in the chamber.
"I believe it has hit the proper balance," said Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel (R-Parker).
Passing a balanced budget is the only job lawmakers are technically required to do under the state constitution. It starts with a draft from the Governor, followed by months of meetings from the Joint Budget Committee to craft it. Following passage in the Senate, the budget moves on to the Colorado House.
More than $34 million in grants from the state will go to local communities for public improvement projects.
Forty communities across the state received grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
Hotchkiss got $1.1 million to upgrade the town’s sewer system. De Beque received $2 million to help build a new fire station. The state awarded Mesa County $1 million for road and structure improvements.
The Montrose Recreation District got $1.9 million to expand its community recreation center. And, Cedaredge received nearly $2 million.
Spring has officially started, but on the Western Slope of Colorado, people have been noticing signs of warm weather for a while. iSeeChange.org has seen a lot of postings about early arrivals in the natural world. Andrea Lecos, for example, noticed a spring time sound in the beginning of February.
Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:20 am
Under current state law Colorado provides 186 tax breaks — everything from vending machine food to dairy equipment, affordable housing, livestock feed, and fuel for light, heat, and power.
"I think it's worth us taking a look periodically to make sure we are being responsible to the tax payers with their tax money to say where is it being spent and are we getting a good return on the investment," said Representative KC Becker (D-Boulder).
With that in mind, Colorado lawmakers want to see whether the state is getting its money's worth from all those tax breaks designed to create jobs and boost the economy.
Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 5:57 pm
The Obama administration is pledging that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels over the next 10 years. The new target was submitted today to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:48 pm
A badly abused Peruvian bear named Cholita is coming to a sanctuary in Colorado. Animal Defenders International announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expedited the request and she will be on her way next month.
A new report estimates national parks need $11.5 billion to address maintenance and repair projects. The National Park Service report finds Colorado parks alone could use more than $200 million dollars.
KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Sandra Snell-Dobert, a spokesperson for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 5:33 am
It's spring break season and families and college students are heading to Colorado's ski resorts. You've heard of downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, but a growing trend in these areas involves people skiing uphill.
It's midday in Aspen, Colo., and uphill skier Chris Lane is on a break from work at a nonprofit. He clicks into his ski bindings and begins his 1,600 vertical foot journey uphill — on skis.
He's going against downhill traffic, so he stays on the side of the ski run.
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 3:44 pm
Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET
The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 appears to have deliberately crashed the plane carrying 150 people into the French Alps after the pilot had left the cockpit, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said at a news conference Thursday.
Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:05 am
On average students in Colorado classrooms take more than two-dozen assessments before they graduate, in some cases up to four times a year according to the Colorado Education Association. Critics say it actually means less time for overall learning.
A bipartisan measure aimed at reducing the number of tests Colorado public school students take remains in limbo at the state Legislature. The sponsors delayed the first hearing and don't know when it will be rescheduled – if at all.
The U.S. Department of Energy is piloting a program that trains military personnel for careers in the solar industry. The Reach for the Sun course is designed for people exiting the service and returning to civilian life. Paonia-based Solar Energy International is leading two of the three pilot programs including one at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Kathy Swartz, the executive director of SEI, an educational nonprofit, about the project.
Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 5:04 am
Colorado's latest revenue forecast was good news for lawmakers, showing a healthy economy and more money for the state budget. There was also one notable hedge, the uncertainty around low oil prices and the oil industry's effect on the state economy.
So just what are the implications of more state revenue? We turn to the reporters that work the halls of the capitol to find out.