Ritter will sign $18.2B budget

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The $18.2 billion budget passed by legislators is about to become law.

Gov. Bill Ritter planned to sign the budget bill Thursday. It will take effect in July, when the fiscal year begins.

Schools will get 6.4 percent less than usual, and some districts are planning for layoffs. The state will save money because growth in the prison population has slowed.

Overall, the budget paid for with tax dollars is increasing by about $300 million, or 5 percent. Tax revenues are expected to rise by 5.8 percent after falling by a total of $1.3 billion over the last two years. Much of the extra revenue will make up for federal stimulus money that’s running out.