Governor’s Proposed Budget Holds Promise for Colorado Kids
There was good news for Colorado kids in the proposed budget Gov. John Hickenlooper released this week. After years of declining or stagnant budgets, the governor proposed making new investments in the following:
- Education: The proposed K-12 budget includes $201 million in new money, an increase of 4.8 percent. This additional support provides an average $185 more per public school student in Colorado.
- Early Childhood: The K-12 budget increase includes $23.9 million to enhance full-day kindergarten and preschool opportunities and to improve teacher quality in hard-to-fill areas. The health budget also includes $1.8 million for early intervention services for children from birth to age 2.
- Health: The budget includes a Medicaid provider rate increase, which is critical to supporting doctors and ensuring Medicaid clients, including children, can access care. Additionally, the budget proposes adding a dental benefit for adults, including pregnant women, and making a $17 million investment in mental health services.
The budget didn’t address the opportunities to grow and strengthen the health coverage that gives working families access to quality, affordable health care through Medicaid. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, states have the chance to grow successful, cost-effective coverage options that provide access to health care in a way that supports our state’s long-term fiscal health. In his letter to the budget committee, the governor wrote: “We believe that sufficient uncertainty regarding important policy guidance exists at the current time. We expect more precise guidance in the coming months and will communicate this new information to you as soon as is practicable.”
The proposed 2013-2014 budget now goes to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee, which will begin holding budget hearings later this month. The budget must be approved by the full General Assembly next spring before taking effect in July. Read more about the governor’s proposed budget here.