Weekly Policy Update: Colorado Legislature Finalizes State Budget

The Colorado legislature finalized the state budget today, which will now be sent to Governor Polis for his signature.

In addition to funding day-to-day operations of the state government, the $34.6 billion budget restores funding to programs that were cut last year, provides support for vulnerable Coloradans, and makes investments to enhance Colorado’s resiliency. Budget highlights include:

Restored funding

  • $480.3 million to reduce budget stabilization factor – bolstering school funding levels for the next two years
  • $473 million for state institutions of higher education
  • $380 million for future Public Employees’ Retirement Association Direct

Investments to support vulnerable Coloradans

  • $707.5 million for medical and long-term services & supports through Medicaid
  • $87 million for county administration of SNAP benefits
  • $48.2 million for hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income patients

Investments to enhance Colorado’s resiliency

  • $327.1 million for state infrastructure and information technology projects
  • $201 million to fund the State Emergency Reserve
  • $50 million to fund 2021 legislative proposals to combat climate change and spur job creation
  • Build Back Stronger $100 million to the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Fund

The state budget also includes a set aside of $800 million for the legislative stimulus package, which includes funding for agricultural communities, infrastructure, rural economic development, school investment, and job creation.

Federal Stimulus Funding

Colorado is expected to receive $3.9 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to spend over the next couple years. The state has a lot of flexibility about how to spend the money, unlike previous federal aid packages.

Over the past month, Governor Polis and other state leaders conducted a statewide virtual listening tour to gather ideas from communities and industry sectors about how state and federal stimulus dollars can best be used to accelerate Colorado’s economic recovery. The state released their report and summary this week, capturing the ideas generated during the discussions.

The stimulus money needs to be appropriated by the General Assembly, so state legislators will need to determine how to spend those dollars before the end of the session or come back for a special session later in the year.

In the coming months, the CBSA team will work closely with our members and state partners to advocate for spending priorities that support our life sciences ecosystem.

Categories: CBSA News