Polis proposes $1.28B stimulus package for stricken Colorado economy

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis has unveiled plans to inject $1.28 billion into several parts of the state’s economy in the coming fiscal year.

In a press conference introducing his budget proposal Monday morning, Polis said his proposals are needed in lieu of the monthslong stalemate between the Trump Administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over another pandemic stimulus package as infections across the country rise.

Those talks have ground to a halt in recent days, as Congress and President Donald Trump turned their attention to the final days before Tuesday’s election.

Budget documents from the governor’s office list the following items with the stimulus package:

  • $220 million for public transportation and infrastructure projects. Lauren Larson, director of Colorado’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting, told reporters that the Colorado Department of Transportation has a number of projects across the state that are ready for construction if it can get dollars committed in the coming fiscal year, but she did not specify any particular projects.
  • $160 million for broadband connectivity infrastructure projects.
  • $140 million for workforce-related programs, including $40 million for programs to prepare displaced workers for new jobs, another $40 million for clean-energy financing and $30 million for the Colorado Startup Loan Fund earmarked for demographics that are historically under-served.
  • $168 million in one-time payments of $375 to most of the state’s unemployed. The payments were ordered last week.
  • $105 million in tax relief and direct aid to small businesses that are subject to capacity restrictions during the winter, including restaurants in bars.
  • $78 million for wildfire relief and future mitigation efforts.
  • $50 million for housing aid and anti-eviction measures.
  • $50 million for child-care providers, which could allow more parents to return to the workforce in lieu of taking time off to care for children who aren’t in full-time school programs.
  • $48.4 million for “high-need” construction projects for state agencies.
  • $38 million for public health initiatives.

The budget also earmarks $200 million for one-time expenditures to be determined by state legislators, along with $231 million for anticipated COVID-19 response dollars in 2021.

Polis’ budget would also provide additional funding to all of the state’s universities to what the governor said would amount to fiscal year 2019-2020 levels, including an additional $15.39 million to the Colorado State University System, $34.83 million to the Regents of the University of Colorado, $2.61 million to the University of Northern Colorado and $8.47 million to the Colorado Community College System.

The budget proposal was designed using the latest state revenue estimates, and doesn’t account for the outcome of the election Tuesday. Coloradans will vote on Amendment B, which would repeal the Gallagher Amendment and potentially increase local government revenues, or Proposition 116, an income tax drop that state legislative analysts estimate would reduce Colorado’s revenues by $203 million in the coming fiscal year.

While Polis said his office will offer addendums to its proposal by the time he testifies to the state’s budget committee next Thursday, he doesn’t believe either passing would force a rewrite of the budget.

“We don’t see any of the issues as materially affecting the budget,” he said.

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DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis has unveiled plans to inject $1.28 billion into several parts of the state’s economy in the coming fiscal year.

In a press conference introducing his budget proposal Monday morning, Polis said his proposals are needed in lieu of the monthslong stalemate between the Trump Administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over another pandemic stimulus package as infections across the country rise.

Those talks have ground to a halt in recent days, as Congress and President Donald Trump turned their attention to the final days before Tuesday’s election.

Budget documents from the governor’s office list the following items with the stimulus package:

  • $220 million for public transportation and infrastructure projects. Lauren Larson, director of Colorado’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting, told reporters that the Colorado Department of Transportation has a number of projects across the state that are ready for construction if it can get dollars committed in the coming fiscal year, but she did not specify any particular projects.
  • $160 million for broadband connectivity infrastructure projects.
  • $140 million for workforce-related programs, including $40 million for programs to prepare displaced workers for new jobs, another $40 million for clean-energy financing and $30 million for the Colorado Startup Loan Fund earmarked for demographics that are historically under-served.
  • $168 million in one-time payments of $375 to most of the state’s unemployed. The payments were ordered last week.
  • $105 million in…