Lawmakers weighing budget cuts, layoffs

Filed under: Daily News |

Lawmakers are deadlocked over whether to cut spending at state agencies and potentially prompt layoffs in what has become the next flashpoint in Colorado budget negotiations.

Budget writers are getting closer to finalizing the budget and removed a big obstacle earlier this week when they said they would not pursue eliminating a nearly $100 million property tax break for some seniors.

But Democrats and economists from the governor’s office say a budget provision to cut 2 percent across all state agencies needs to be removed or it will cause an estimated 435 layoffs at places including prisons, mental hospitals and the Colorado State Patrol. Republicans question that estimate.

The proposed cut is part of a deal to increase funds for state employees’ health, life and dental benefits.