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Colorado Governor Jared Polis Releases State Budget for FY2022-23 November 1, 2021

Today Governor Polis released his budget request for FY2022-23. Alongside the press release he held a press conference to highlight key elements and priorities of the budget. In summary, the budget request is for $40.0 billion in total funds, a 3.9% increase including requests for an 8.1% ($1 billion) increase in General Fund operating costs and $1.3 billion transformative one-time investment strategy to address the state’s greatest challenges.

 

The Governor’s emphasis was on supporting Coloradan’s recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanied economic fall-out. The September Revenue Forecast painted a detailed picture of the revenue expected for the 2022-23 budget. While the economy continues to recover to pre-pandemic levels, employment continues to lag, and inflationary pressures have increased. Because of this growth, state revenue will exceed the TABOR cap through the three-year forecast period, triggering all three TABOR refund mechanisms, and the Governor’s budget includes emphasis on planning for the future.

 

The budget’s emphasis is on leveraging the Federal American Rescue Plan Act and incentivizing state and local investments to ensure the transformational implementation of these one-time investments. In a budget year where we have flexible funding but foresee potential risks to the budget in the future, Governor Polis emphasized a long-term sustainable approach while proposing large investments in issues we know are a priority of the administration: preschool, K12 and Higher Education, workforce development and small business support, reducing health care and behavioral health care costs and increasing access, as well as investing in affordable housing, multimodal transportation, and air quality investments.

 

His budget priorities include four key elements to bolster economic recovery and invest in the future:

  1. Fiscal Responsibility

a.       Historic General Fund Reserve of 15% (pre-pandemic reserves were only 7.26%)

b.       $1.84 billion investment in critical programs – state employee pay and family leave, K12 and Preschool Education, Transportation etc.

c.       Leverage the Federal ARPA funds for transformational change in housing affordability, behavioral health, and other critical relief areas

  1. Investments in Education & Workforce

a.       Increase per pupil funding by $526, the highest level ever

b.       $150 million for the K12 Budget Stabilization Factor, achieving the lowest percentage of 4.7% since its peak in 2012-13

c.       An increase of $42.6 million in operating support for Colorado’s higher education institution, an increase of 4.6%, parallel to the “inflationary and per pupil” increase in the state’s funding for K-12 education

d.       $30 million to renovate state Higher Education buildings to provide childcare

e.       $21 million to help workers find good paying jobs

  1. Supporting individuals and Colorado businesses

a.       $104 million in fee relief for individuals and businesses, including making it free to start a business, FAMLI Paid Family and Medical Leave premium relief, and healthcare professionals relief fund

b.       $600 million for relief from pandemic related unemployment insurance trust fund charges to protect workers’ wages

c.       $51 million to help businesses find workers and help workers find good paying jobs through credentials and apprenticeships

d.       Saving people money on health care and behavioral health care:

                                                                i.      $530 million over 3 years to protect home and community-based services, including $15/hour wages to ensure Medicaid access to services

                                                              ii.      $24 million to reward successful HCPF and DOI alternative payment models

                                                             iii.      $11 million for e-Health Innovations to enable critical data and technology for rural healthcare providers

  1. Healthy and Safe Communities

a.       $113 million in public safety investments including diversion programs and increasing behavioral health workforce investments in underserved communities

b.       $200 million from the Economic Recovery and Relief Fund to reduce homelessness primarily through competitive grants with local matching dollars

c.       $40 million of additional investment for designing and building safer streets with an emphasis on multimodal access (CDOT’s Main Street Program)

d.       $424 million in one-time funding for air-quality improvement including the electrification of transit (especially school buses, decarbonization of industry and aviation, and cannabis industry efficiency)

e.       leveraging Federal ARPA investments including $100 million for affordable housing support, $25 million for energy efficiency in affordable housing projects, $25 million in incentives for building prefabricated housing, and $25 million for Colorado’s Housing and Finance Authority Middle Income Access Program

 

Governor’s Budget Request link to download

Governor’s Budget Request Summary link to download

Governor’s Press Release Announcement

Governor’s Budget Presentation & Press Release Video

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