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Thursday churn: Legislative budget bout

What’s churning:

House Republicans and Senate Democrats are arguing over where to set the non-binding target for state general fund spending in 2011-12, and today’s 8 a.m. Senate Finance committee may turn into a stage for the dispute.

For education, a lower spending target would mean deeper cuts than already are expected for the upcoming school year.

Majority Republicans in the House, led by House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, want to set the target lower than normal, saying that’s a prudent way to avoid midyear budget cuts if the forecast doesn’t pan out. Earlier this week, McNulty told reporters he wanted to reduce the amount, normally based on estimates from legislative staff economists, by 2.75 percent.

But Thursday, Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, challenged McNulty to specify just which cuts in which state programs he wants. The Senate Finance Committee considers the House Joint Resolution on the funding target this morning.

What’s on tap:

The Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board, which oversees state programs that help students take college courses while in high school, meets from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the conference center at the Community College System Lowry campus, 1061 Akron Way, Bldg. 697 in Denver. More information

The Littleton school board meets at 5:30 p.m. at its Education Services Center, 5776 South Crocker St. Agenda.

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