DENVER (AP) — Republicans who control the Colorado House have the chance to put their stamp on the state budget next year — and it's looking like they'll force a standoff with Democrats and Gov. John Hickenlooper over a tax break for seniors and Medicaid spending.

With a one-vote advantage, House Republicans are standing firm on keeping a $98.6 million property tax break for seniors scheduled to be reinstated next year, despite Hickenlooper's insistence that the state can't afford it.

So how would the state pay for the tax break? Republicans are driving the debate toward scaling back Medicaid spending and getting flexibility in the program, which they also blame for increasing cuts to education. Medicaid would account for $185.6 million of the $227.1 million spending increase in the general fund, which is expected to be at about $7.4 billion under Hickenlooper's proposal. The bad economy has prompted increases in Medicaid enrollment and spending.

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