Colorado schools and colleges got an early Christmas gift as state economists revealed that proposed budget cuts can be eliminated because revenues are higher than originally thought.
The higher revenues prompted Gov. John Hickenlooper to propose restoring the $89 million K-12 education he previously said needed to be cut to balance next year's budget.
He is also recommending that state colleges and universities take a smaller hit than he originally proposed -- $30 million instead of $60 million. About $25 million of the funding proposed to be restored to higher education would go to student financial aid.
Hickenlooper's economic team said that's possible because of employment gains, growth in manufacturing and the oil and gas industries as well as increases in capital-gains taxes and sales taxes mean the state will take in $231 million more revenue than its economists had predicted back in September -- a 3.2 percent increase.
"I didn't know it was in your job description to be Santa's helper this year," Republican Sen. Kent Lambert told Hickenlooper's budget director, Henry Sobanet during a presentation to the Joint Budget Committee.