ICYMI: Governor Polis Delivers for Coloradans & State Drives Colorado Comeback
DENVER- On July 7th, Governor Jared Polis has taken action on the remaining bills following this year’s historic legislative session. Governor Polis has crisscrossed the state this month holding bill signings in Fort Morgan, Sterling, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Greeley, Evans, Fort Collins, Palisade, Silverthorne, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Longmont, Avon, Eagle, Basalt, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Evergreen, and the Denver metro area, at Floyd Hill, at the Western Stock Show, at state parks, at a Solar Garden in Longmont, at a dispensary in Denver, a child care center in Lakewood and preschools and community spaces in Denver, at the Pueblo Union Depot, at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and more. Governor Polis was joined by Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, cabinet members, and members of the state legislature at these signing ceremonies.
“Coloradans have had a challenging year and now we are building back stronger than before,” said Governor Jared Polis. “From a bipartisan state stimulus package to a historic bipartisan transportation law to investing in education, fighting to save people money on health care, providing tax relief, and taking bold climate action, we are delivering the transformational change to prepare Colorado for tomorrow and years to come.”
95% of the bills Governor Polis signed into law following this historic legislative session were bipartisan.
Governor Polis continues to deliver results on the administration’s Bold 4 agenda and commitment to building a Colorado for All. The Governor signed a number of bills to ensure Colorado builds back stronger than before the pandemic.
State & Federal Stimulus – The General Assembly passed and the Governor signed 53 bills using state and federal stimulus dollars to support Colorado’s recovery and support hardworking families to build back stronger from the pandemic. In all, the General Assembly allocated:
- $582 million to support Colorado families including resources for schools, mental health, childcare, nutrition assistance, housing, and direct relief to individuals;
- $186 million in relief for small businesses including those hit hard in the service and tourism industries;
- $783 million in targeted investments in Colorado’s infrastructure, including broadband, water, housing development, and transportation;
- $132 million in rural Colorado, including key supports for our farmers and ranchers, small businesses, and healthcare; and
- $191 million in workforce development to support Colorado building back stronger.
A few key bills from the state stimulus package included the following:
- HB21-1288 Colorado Startup Loan Fund: Provides over $30 million in grants to support small businesses and fuel the growth of new business opportunities for Coloradans.
- HB21-1289 Funding for Broadband Deployment: Addresses critical gaps in our broadband infrastructure by providing $75 million for middle- and last-mile broadband access, including $20 million for broadband infrastructure in Tribal communities.
- HB21-1264 Funds Workforce Development Increase Worker Skills: Invests $25 million in reskilling and upskilling opportunities for Coloradans displaced by the pandemic and $35 million for innovation grants to help build stronger infrastructure to help prepare Coloradans for the jobs of the future.
- HB21-1262 Money Support Agricultural Events Organization: Supports the National Western Stock Show and other agricultural events by providing $28.5 million to aid in construction and assistance for the event.
- HB21-1271, HB21-1329, SB21-242: Together, these bills provided more than $148 million for Housing assistance and innovative housing strategies across the state.
- SB 21-230, SB 21-231, SB 21-235, HB 21-1253: Together these bills invest $51 million in clean energy finance, agricultural energy efficiency, and local government clean energy grants.
- SB21-260 Sustainability of the Transportation System: which will reduce vehicle registration fees by $11 next year and create a dynamic, 21st Century transportation system that will drive Colorado’s economic comeback, establish a sustainable funding source to improve Colorado roads, invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and expand multi-modal and transit options to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
- HB21-1304 Early Childhood System: Creates a New Department of Early Childhood that will align and strengthen the state’s birth through kindergarten entry system, including helping to implement universal access to free, voluntary preschool passed by the voters through prop EE.
- SB21-236 Increase Capacity Early Childhood Care and Education: Provides for nearly $400 million in federal and state funding to provide support for new and existing early childhood providers, including grants for employer-based providers, to help weather the pandemic and increase access to high-quality early childhood programming for more children.
Saving People Money on Health Care
- HB21-1232 Standardized Health Benefit Plan Colorado Option: Saves Coloradans money on health care by creating the Colorado Public Option. By 2025, its premiums will have to be 15% less than the rates insurers offered in 2021, adjusted for inflation.
- SB21-175 Prescription Drug Affordability Board: Saves Coloradans money on the cost of prescription drugs by creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board tasked with capping the high cost of prescription drugs for top prescriptions.
- HB21-1097 Behavioral Health Administration: Creates the Behavioral Health Administration, as recommended by the Behavioral Health Taskforce, which will provide leadership and help to unify and streamline our state’s behavioral health response.
Tax Reform – Governor Polis is focused on delivering tax relief for the people of Colorado. The tax relief package the Governor signed goes a long way toward leveling the playing field, to make sure that there’s less special breaks and that we all pay a lower rate.
- HB21-1311 Income Tax: Closes tax loopholes that benefit special interests and putting more money into Coloradans pockets by cutting taxes included eliminating all income taxes on social security for seniors over age 65 and Colorado child tax credit and doubling Colorado’s Earned Income Tax Credit, helping an estimated 320,000 Colorado families earn their way out of poverty.
- HB21-1312 Insurance Premium Property Sales Severance Tax: Allows thousands more Colorado businesses to deduct their business personal property taxes, saving Colorado’s small and growing businesses thousands of dollars annually that they can reinvest back into their businesses.
- SB21-293 Property Tax Classification And Assessment Rates: provides $200 million in property tax relief for Colorado taxpayers. This new law lowers tax rates for agricultural land, supporting one of Colorado’s biggest and most historically vital industries. It also lowers property taxes on land being used to produce renewable energy, helping promote a growing industry which will help ensure that the natural beauty drawing new Coloradans here every year is here to stay.
Parks & Public Lands
- SB21-249 Keep Colorado Wild Annual Pass: Reduces Annual State Park Pass from $80/year to under $30/year and helps to ensure that every Coloradan can benefit from our beautiful public lands by creating the Keep Colorado Wild Annual Pass, which will provide discounted access to Colorado state parks and public lands at the time of vehicle registration.
- SB21-112 & HB21-1326 New Funding to Support Colorado’s State Parks and Outdoor Rec Economies: Combined, the two bills provide $45 million to support Colorado’s parks infrastructure and the development of new state parks, bolstering Colorado’s outdoor rec economy now and into the future.
- HB21-1318 Create Outdoor Equity Grant Program: Increase access to outdoor opportunities for all Coloradans by creating the Colorado Outdoor Equity Fund, which provides resources to underserved students and communities to help increase environmental education and awareness.
100% Renewable Energy by 2040 and Bold Climate Action
- SB21-246 Electric Utility Promote Beneficial Electrification: The bill directs the public utilities commission (PUC) to establish energy savings targets and approve plans under which investor-owned electric utilities will promote the use of energy-efficient electric equipment in place of less efficient fossil-fuel-based systems.
- SB21-264 Adopt Programs Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Utilities: Requires gas distribution utilities GDU to file a clean heat plan (plan) with the public utilities commission (PUC). A plan must demonstrate how the GDU will use clean heat resources to meet clean heat targets (targets) established in the bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- HB 21-1238 Public Utilities Commission Modernize Gas Utility DSM Standards: Modernizes requirements of regulated gas utility demand-side management programs. Beginning in 2022, requires the Public Utilities Commission to set energy savings targets based on all cost-effective DSM. Updates methods for determining cost-effectiveness including requiring the social costs of carbon dioxide and methane emissions.
- HB-1286 Energy Performance For Buildings: Promotes energy efficient buildings by requiring certain buildings to meet energy performance targets by 2026. Here’s a closer look from the Colorado Energy Office.