Colorado Comeback Legislation Moves Forward, Recovery Gets Two Steps Closer
Bipartisan stimulus bills clear committee aiming to jump start rural Colorado & invest in environmental restoration
DENVER, CO – Today, the Senate Local Government Committee approved SB21-229, a bill sponsored by Senators Jessie Danielson and Tammy Story, that directs $3 million to the Rural Jump Start Grant Program, which helps economically distressed communities – particularly communities that will be affected by the energy market’s transition away from coal to more renewable energy sources – attract new businesses and jobs.
“As we work to help Colorado recover, we must prioritize directing targeted relief to parts of our state that are too often left behind: small communities, places with particularly low unemployment or income levels, and fossil fuel areas in transition,” said Senator Story (D-Evergreen). “This bill will help ignite local economies from the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains, and will ensure that Colorado’s economic recovery is both equitable and sustainable.”
Specifically, SB21-229 prescribes a tiered grant program where new businesses can receive up to $20,000 for establishing operations in rural jump-start zones and up to $2,500 for each new job they create. Furthermore, businesses establishing operations in coal transition communities (as identified in the Office of Just Transition Action Plan) can receive up to $40,000 as well as up to $5,000 for each new job they create.
SB21-229 will now be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.
Additionally, this afternoon the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee approved SB21-240, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Danielson & Simpson, that transfers $15 million to the Colorado Water Conservation Board to help watersheds recover from the impacts of wildfire.
“In 2020, Colorado endured the worst wildfire season in state history – devastating countless homes and thousands of acres of forest land. This has severely impacted our watersheds in the state and only increased the adverse effects of Colorado drought conditions” said Senator Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge). “As a part of our economic recovery, we are working to restore and strengthen our natural environment so that it can better withstand wildfire impacts and save our state painful costs in the future.”
In addition to direct funding for watershed restoration, the bill sets aside funds to conduct a statewide watershed analysis that investigates the susceptibility of life, safety, infrastructure, and water supplies to wildfire impacts.
SB21-240 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.