Winners and losers so far in Colorado state budget

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DENVER -- The Colorado state budget is still a long way from becoming set in stone, but it cleared a key test Wednesday night after amendments in the State Senate.

Here are some of the winners and losers so far.

Rural hospitals

Rating: Loser

Under the plan, more than $500 million in cuts are set for hospitals across the state. Because rural hospitals operate on thin profit margins, many are threatening closures.

"We actually surveyed a number of Colorado Hospital Association members and about 30 percent of rural hospitals says they might consider closure," said Katherine Mulready, vice president of the Colorado Hospital Association.

Governor's plan to use marijuana money to build affordable housing for homeless

Rating: Winner

On Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper was unhappy that lawmakers abandoned his plan. However, state senators put the $16 million project back in during a late-night session.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to look at some of the tax revenue derived from marijuana," the governor said.


Rating: Loser

Lawmakers continue to resist funding tax incentives for movies and TV programs to be filmed in Colorado.

Lawmakers seeking pay increase

Rating: Loser

Lawmakers rejected an earlier proposal to give judges a raise Wednesday that would have given lawmakers a raise as well because the two are linked together.

"We should not be voting on pay raises for ourselves," Sen. John Cooke said as he successfully lobbied his amendment.

The big question is how will the budget be amended as it heads to the House.

A sales tax increase to fund transportation is a separate issue that initially cleared the House on Thursday.

A separate bill to reclassify the hospital provider fee to help rural hospitals is in its early stages.