Colorado lawmakers gave preliminary approval to the state’s $25 billion budget for next year. The state’s spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1st reflects an improving economy. The budget has about $70 million set aside for surplus tax refunds required under Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. TABOR requires refunds when tax revenue exceeds the rate of inflation and population growth. Schools, health care, and prisons take up the biggest chunks of the budget as they do every year. The Senate took up the budget first, debating it yesterday and giving it approval on an unrecorded voice vote. They’ll take a final vote to pass it today and send it to the House for debate next week.