Policy Update: Governor Jared Polis Releases Budget Proposal for FY 2020-21
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 11/01/2019
Governor Jared Polis Releases Budget Proposal for FY 2020-21
Governor Jared Polis released his 2020-21 budget proposal on Friday, underscoring priorities that include expanding the state’s preschool program, increasing the paid family leave program for state employees, and increasing the state’s reserve account in case of an economic downturn. All three of those priorities were included in last year’s budget request, but state legislators ultimately did not include them in the spending bill that went into effect on July 1, 2019.
The Governor’s $34.5 billion budget is an increase of 2.7% from the current budget and a 2.9% increase in the state’s more flexible General Fund. Polis described the proposal as modest and says next year he’s focusing on stabilizing the state’s finances and helping it recruit and retain employees.
The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) will consider the Governor’s request as they write the 2020-21 budget and are expected to pass a final budget by late March. Based on their initial comments, Democrats who control the JBC seemed to appreciate Governor Polis’ fiscal restraint, however, there may be additional challenges in writing next year’s budget due to several big-ticket items the legislature passed last session that are projected to cost more than initially expected.
No matter what, the proposal is likely to undergo significant changes in the coming months as it moves through the JBC and the full state legislature.
Here are some highlights of the new spending items included in the Governor’s budget proposal:
- $27.6 million to expand the Colorado Preschool Program, increasing free preschool slots by 6,000 next year
- Additional $3.5 million to increase school safety funding
- $10 million to expand paid family leave program for state employees to at least 8 weeks
- $550 million for transportation (almost entirely from the General Fund)
- $40 million to reduce the negative factor, which would bring it to a 10-year low of 6.4%
- Additional $2.3 million for Air Pollution Control Division
- $9 million to close Cheyenne Mountain private prison and move those held there to Centennial South
Click here for the Governor’s letter.