Politics

Colorado lawmakers and the state governor unveiled a $ 700 million economic stimulus plan. Here’s where the money will go.

On Wednesday, the state’s top Democratic and Republican lawmakers joined the premier. Jared Polis unveils a government economic stimulus plan worth nearly $ 700 million, the lion’s share of which will go to “shovel” infrastructure projects, including repairs to the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial tunnels and Interstate Highway 70

Total shovel-ready projects will total $ 170 million, or about a quarter of total spending. Hundreds of millions more will be spent on other long-term infrastructure projects, such as expanding broadband access and revitalizing the streets of major cities.

The remainder of the spending includes initiatives to invest in rural Colorado, support small business recovery, development of affordable housing and mental health. There are also childcare funds and support for schools and students.

Police said at a news conference at the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Denver.

The announcement comes as President Joe Biden is expected to sign a $ 1.9 trillion federal stimulus plan, approved by Congress on Wednesday. State leaders were waiting for the details of the aid package – which includes billions of dollars for Colorado childcare, education, unemployment and other needs – before finalizing their spending plan.

The money that Colorado lawmakers use to pay for the government’s stimulus plan comes from unexpected tax revenues.

The legislature slashed the state budget last year in anticipation of an economic downtown caused by the pandemic. While there was a downturn, the economy performed better than expected, leaving the General Assembly hundreds of millions of dollars to allocate.

“While the epidemic was devastating – we lost 6000 Koloradin residents, and a lot of people are unemployed – we prepared for the worst,” Polis said. Fortunately, the worst-case scenarios did not materialize. Therefore, we have one-time funds carried over. ”

Officials also promised to restore the funding that was cut off during the pandemic.

“We’re prioritizing getting back the budgets we cut last year. Things like our education budget, maybe our health care programs,” said Bob Rankin, Republican from Carbondale and state budget clerk.

Up to $ 131 million will be allocated to strengthening agriculture and rural communities, including $ 20-35 million in competitive grants for rural agricultural infrastructure investments and millions in forest and watershed restoration projects to protect communities from forest fires.

“We are directly investing in rural Colorado,” said House Majority Leader Dania Esgar.

Other spending priorities include:

  • $ 30 million in projects to revitalize the main streets of the community
  • $ 60-80 million in similar funds for downtown revitalization efforts and to create affordable housing options in urban areas
  • $ 50-75 million to expand the broadband Internet infrastructure
  • $ 30-40 million for existing clean energy programs
  • $ 40-50 million in sales tax exemptions for restaurants and bistros
  • $ 20-30 million for lending institutions that cater to “historically deprived” entrepreneurs
  • $ 10-15 million in one-off grants for small businesses, with priority given to rural firms, women, minorities, and veteran properties
  • $ 10-15 million to rent, rent, or buy hotel rooms for non-residential individuals
  • $ 8-10 million in seed funding for a program to stimulate local governments to adopt affordable housing development policies
  • $ 5-10 million to support childcare work
  • $ 8-9 million for school mental health screenings

Each proposal will come in the form of individual bills, which have yet to be released, so the details remain unclear.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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