My Fellow Coloradans,
Today, I rolled out my request for Colorado’s fiscal year 2022-23 state budget. We all know that the last year has exposed challenges in our workforce, healthcare, and child care systems, as well as our small business sector. Hard-working Coloradans are struggling to get ahead with the rising cost of living. That’s why this balanced, fiscally responsible budget doubles down on my commitment to saving Coloradans money, putting money back into the pockets and paychecks of Coloradans, and protecting the Colorado way of life. We are building on the foundation that has been laid to help Colorado recover faster and stronger, and truly create a Colorado for all. This budget focuses on four key elements:
- Fiscal Responsibility with record reserve levels
- Historic Investments in Education and Workforce
- Putting Money Back in Coloradans Paychecks, reducing fees and payroll taxes, & Supporting Colorado Businesses
- Healthy and Safe Communities
From early childhood to entry into the workforce, this budget invests in workers through increased wages, educational opportunities, and reskilling to prepare our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. I’m also proposing leveraging state and federal dollars to save both employers and employees money through tax relief and fee reductions and saving people money on healthcare for a healthier workforce.
This budget invests in our workers and our small businesses, with unemployment and FAMLI insurance premium relief, putting more money in Coloradans paychecks:
- $600 million for Relief from Pandemic-Related Unemployment Insurance charges to save employers money and protect worker wages
- $104 million in fee relief for individuals and businesses, including making it free to start a business, FAMLI family and medical leave premium relief, and healthcare professionals fee relief, $5 million to help workers find in-demand opportunities.
- $5 million to help workers find in-demand opportunities using navigational services, outreach, and work-based learning programs and apprenticeships. These funds will complement existing local efforts to support digital literacy while reaching a diverse group of people seeking quality job opportunities.
- $7 million to invest in our current and future workforce needs by providing financial support for those seeking in-demand non-degree credentials at our state’s community and area technical colleges.
- $7 million in technical assistance for access to capital. These resources include the CLIMBER fund, Energize Colorado, and the Colorado Startup Loan fund. Investments in technical assistance will help ensure that more businesses can access resources through the state as well as community development financial institutions and small business development centers.
- $30 million to create more child care facilities; Colorado can create more child care options for hard-working Coloradans by renovating existing state buildings, including higher education institutions, so that these facilities can be used as child care centers for the public, state employees, and students. This effort will increase the supply of child care for Colorado’s workforce and help build the workforce of the future once OEDIT receives these funds.
- $20 million to waive licensing fees for nurses and mental health care workers for two years to reduce the financial burden for these workers. Additionally, this proposal would waive license fees for nursing homes and assisted living facilities whose residents have been particularly vulnerable throughout the pandemic.
- $1.2 million ongoing to create a Public-Private (P3) Office within OEDIT. This P3 Office will be responsible for developing and managing contracts and building collaborations between the private sector and government to complete major infrastructure projects and other programs through long-term, performance-based procurements commonly referred to as public-private partnerships, or P3s. Accordingly, the office will leverage private investment in combination with state assets to ensure that state resources are used as effectively as possible.
In addition, Healthy & Safe Communities are a top priority. The budget invests $113 million to reduce crime, improve public safety, and get people the treatment they need. It also recommends $200 million over the next few years to support local government work to reduce homelessness.
This is a budget informed by Coloradans and for Coloradans, combining fiscal responsibility with the building blocks for transformational change and immediate relief for hardworking Coloradans.
I look forward to working with legislative leadership, the Joint Budget Committee, and members of the General Assembly to bring this vision to life for the people of our state.
Governor Jared Polis