DENVER A Wednesday vote in the U.S. Senate could save the state government from an unexpected $210 million cut.
State lawmakers passed their yearly budget this spring with the expectation that Congress would extend extra money to the states for health care. But Congress wavered for weeks until the bill passed a key Senate vote Wednesday on a 61-38 tally.
Colorado, however, will not get all the money it had expected earlier this year. Gov. Bill Ritters office said early estimates show the state can expect $142 million. Sen. Mark Udalls office put the Colorado total at $159 million.
In any case, both estimates are lower than the $210 million for which legislators had budgeted, and Ritter will have to identify cuts to make up the difference. He plans to announce cuts later this month, said his spokeswoman, Myung Oak Kim.
Ritter and other governors lobbied Congress hard for the funds, Kim said.
The governor is very grateful to know that these funds are on their way to coming to Colorado, and he hopes the final passage will happen soon, she said.
The legislation is not final yet. It needs to clear another Senate vote, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she would recall her chamber from a recess next week to pass the bill.
Two Republican senators from Maine joined with Democrats to break a Republican filibuster of the bill.
The same bill also includes $156 million for Colorado school districts to either avoid layoffs or rehire employees. Udalls office said the money should prevent 2,400 job losses at Colorado schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.