Budget would open new prison, end scholarships

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State senators are debating next year’s proposed $18.2 billion budget.

The budget was up for an initial vote today.

Some oppose plans to spend $9.4 million to open a solitary confinement unit at the Colorado State Penitentiary. The corrections department says it’s needed to house violent inmates now being held in lower-security prisons.

The budget would also drain a $45.2 million trust fund that provides low-income students with scholarships. High school juniors and seniors who’ve already signed up would be funded but no future students would be helped.

Republicans are pushing for deeper cuts to get ready for the following year. More cuts are possible then because stimulus money that has propped up spending during the recession will be gone.

Associated Press