Colorado Governor Polis, Legislators Unveil American Rescue Plan State Funds Package to Power Colorado Comeback

DENVER – Today, Governor Jared Polis joined legislative leadership, members of the Joint Budget Committee, and members of Colorado’s federal delegation and State Treasurer Dave Young to announce how the state will use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to power the Colorado Comeback. 

“We must seize this once in a generation opportunity to use state stimulus funds to invigorate our economy and help our state recover faster and stronger, while at the same time making critical investments that will better our state for future generations of Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis. “And now, we have an opportunity to build on those investments with federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. This package is the product of a truly collaborative effort from the federal to the state and local levels, and will power the Colorado comeback.”

“This is an important step to helping those Coloradans who have been hardest hit over the last year, including those who have suffered with mental, substance use disorders, and behavioral health challenges worsened by the pandemic. These funds will be critical to providing much needed services, to help Coloradans and our communities build back stronger,” said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera. 

“With thousands of people across our state still out of work, and many more families still struggling to make ends meet, the help that’s coming our way as a result of the American Rescue Plan couldn’t come soon enough,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). “This funding will help families and businesses alike. It will put money in people’s pockets and shots in their arms. And it will keep people in their homes, get them back to work, and help us build a foundation to build back even better than we were before.”

“The American Rescue Plan delivered exactly what our country needed and will help ensure a strong and successful recovery for all Coloradans. Like much of the COVID response, much of our recovery will take place at the local and state level, and I applaud Governor Polis’ and the Legislature for their leadership in ensuring the American Rescue Plan funding is put to good use to help communities across our state recover and build back better,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated families, workers, and small businesses across Colorado in so many different ways,” said Congressman Jason Crow. “With President Biden’s leadership, we fought hard to pass the American Rescue Plan and bring home billions in aid for Colorado. We’re already seeing the benefits of this investment with shots in arms and money in Americans’ pockets. I’m proud to work with Governor Polis and our statehouse partners as we build back an even stronger Colorado.”

“With passage of the American Rescue Plan help is here, for Colorado families and communities, for workers and small business owners. Families across our state have already received relief checks, small business owners are finding support through grants and loans, and many more are seeing help through direct housing assistance and nutrition assistance. After our successful efforts to secure direct local and state funding in this plan, our communities will now see even more direct support. I am so grateful for the work of our Mayors, the work of Governor Polis and our state legislature to ensure we get these funds into the hands of Coloradans who need it most. We know our communities have faced unprecedented challenges over the last 15 months, asking Colorado families to weather this moment alone was simply never an option,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CT4LxdRNmzqEQDk_CT_2AUlGGaKkvvTf/view?usp=sharing

“Today, state and federal lawmakers joined Governor Polis to outline a responsible framework to spend American Rescue Plan Act dollars in a way that is as precise and effective as possible,” said Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “We listened to the ideas community leaders shared during the statewide listening tour, which has led us to a multi-pronged approach. We’ll use some of the relief funds this legislative session to fortify our state budget, and this summer, we’ll set up a bipartisan process to really dive in and craft bold ideas that will power the Colorado Comeback and help our state build back stronger.” 

“Even though Colorado’s economy is rebounding, too many of our neighbors across the state are still struggling to fix what the pandemic has broken. Thanks to unprecedented funds coming to Colorado from the American Rescue Plan, we can make historic investments in the communities hit the hardest,” said President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “By taking the ideas we learned during our statewide listening tour and using an interim committee to give us the strongest recommendations, we can ensure that the remainder of Colorado’s ARPA dollars are available to help the small businesses, industries, and families who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19.” 

“Thanks to President Biden and our federal delegation, we have a tremendous opportunity to build back stronger and make truly transformative, once in a generation change for the people of Colorado,” said House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “The investments we plan to make in workforce development and skills training will connect students with new options for postsecondary education and increase funding for effective programs that provide workers with the tools they need to thrive and fill good jobs. By making strategic investments in hardworking Coloradans, we will put these federal stimulus funds to use to boost our economy and ensure every part of our state is set up for success.”

“After COVID laid bare the fragility of access and availability in our housing market, we knew we needed to do more to get struggling Coloradans into supportive, affordable homes,” said Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “With this once-in-a-lifetime federal stimulus funding we are in a position to make historic investments in equitable housing – providing opportunities for all Coloradans to establish intergenerational wealth and long term prosperity.”

“Today is truly a day of celebration. After more than a year of hardship and struggle, we are entering a new chapter of recovery and growth” said JBC Chair, Senator Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City. “With these once-in-a-generation funds, we will revitalize our community pillars and recharge our economy – laying the foundation for a stronger, more resilient Colorado.“

“Today is an exciting and historic day for Colorado,” said JBC Vice Chair Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “With these federal funds, we’ll not only be able to invest in stimulative projects that help our economy bounce back stronger, but we’ll also put about a billion dollars into fortifying our budget to guarantee years of stability and fiscal integrity. As our state recovers, this funding will ensure we have the resources we need to avoid cuts to critical state services that Coloradans in every corner of our state need.”

“One year ago, we were learning just how deep and devastating the economic recession from COVID-19 would be, and today, I am so hopeful for the future of this state,“ said JBC member Chris Hansen, D-Denver. ”These funds are going to accelerate Colorado’s economic recovery, and this carefully crafted plan based on months of stakeholder work will ensure the relief is targeted and as effective as possible.”

“This framework makes historic investments in mental health, provides businesses the relief they need to grow and create jobs, and stabilizes our budget to bolster the critical services people rely on,” said JBC Member Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “American Rescue Plan dollars will help to usher in a more equitable recovery where those who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic share in the comeback and economic growth.”

“These funds create opportunities and move Colorado forward,” said Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young. “They offer Coloradans an unprecedented opportunity to address acute needs in the areas of affordable housing and mental health, to strengthen and protect our state budget for the long haul, and to focus on critical needs related to economic justice. They’ll enable us to protect long term budget priorities and lift up working families across Colorado.”

With the $3.8 billion of state aid provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (Fiscal Recovery Funds), the Governor and Colorado legislature are rolling out the roadmap of investments designed to power the Colorado Comeback. 

A top priority for the state aid provided by the American Rescue Plan Act will be to shore up the state budget for the near term through a series of budget integrity measures, so as the Coloradans are recovering from this global pandemic, the state can avoid cuts to critical state services such as funding for K-12 schools, higher education, existing mental and behavioral and physical health programs, and the ongoing public health response to COVID-19. That’s why a full third or $1.3 billion of the federal relief funds will be invested in ensuring budget integrity for the next several years.

Of the $3.8 billion in federal funds:

  • $1 billion will go toward fortifying the state budget and maintaining fiscal integrity
  • $300 million will go towards Colorado’s ongoing response to the COVID pandemic
  • Between $400-$550 million will go towards affordable housing and homeownership efforts
  • Between $400-$550 million towards mental and behavioral health programs 
  • Approximately $200 million towards workforce development and education 
  • Approximately $817 million will be for economic recovery and relief
  • $404- $414 million for transportation and infrastructure, and parks and agriculture 

Colorado expects to spend $2 billion of the state’s total $3.8 billion in federal funds this legislative session. An estimated $1.8 billion in federal funds will remain for deployment at the beginning of the next legislative session following an Interim stakeholder process, enabling resources to be targeted to changing needs in the economy that may evolve in the coming months.

These federal funds will further strengthen Colorado’s work to make the state’s economy even stronger post pandemic. Through the Colorado Recovery Plan unveiled in March, the state has already invested roughly $800 million of state funds to help Coloradans recover faster. State stimulus funds are already focused on strengthening small businesses, revitalizing Colorado’s infrastructure, supporting families, investing in rural communities, and developing the state’s workforce. 

To view the roadmap, click here

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www.colorado.gov/governor

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.