Colorado Senate debates budget cuts to close $625M gap |

Colorado Senate debates budget cuts to close $625M gap

DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado lawmakers are debating how much of the extra Medicaid funding provided by the federal stimulus they can start spending to shore up this year’s budget.

The budget committee has already proposed using about $100 million in extra Medicaid money to help plug a $625 million shortfall. Members say that was a conservative estimate from before the bill was signed. They now think Colorado could get $185 million.

The amount is based on a formula that takes into account the state’s unemployment rate, now at 6.1 percent. The money must be spent on Medicaid and can’t be stashed in the state’s reserve fund.

Some Republicans and Democrats think the state should first look at all its budget needs before deciding how to spend that money.

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