Final House vote expected on Colo. budget

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Colorado House lawmakers are expected to take a final vote on a proposed $18 billion budget that prompted a long debate as Democrats tried to get more funding for health care programs and education.

The House gave preliminary approval to the budget plan Wednesday night and lawmakers are scheduled to take a final vote Thursday.

Republicans say it’s the best budget proposal they’ve seen in years. It restores a tax rebate to retailers for collecting sales tax and a waiver on sales taxes on agricultural products. A tax on software downloaded online will also be repealed.

The budget also includes a $250 million cut to K-12 education. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper initially called for a $332 million reduction to education but Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agreed to reduce the cut.