Governor Polis Presents FY22-23 Budget Proposal to Joint Budget Committee

Friday, December 3, 2021

DENVER - Today, Governor Jared Polis presented his FY 2022- 2023 budget to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) of the General Assembly. Governor Polis was joined by Director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting Lauren Larson. 

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Colorado more affordable and get to the root of the most challenging issues of today and tomorrow,” said Governor Polis.

“This fiscally responsible budget has record reserve levels of unspent funds and doubles down on my commitment to saving Coloradans money, fighting pandemic-induced inflation by putting money back into paychecks, supporting small businesses, and enhancing our Colorado way of life. The common-sense proposals outlined in my budget are things Coloradans will be able to see, feel, and find helpful in their everyday lives. This budget proposal will help move our state forward and continue to build a Colorado for all,” Gov. Polis concluded.

The Governor’s budget proposal focuses on four key elements to strengthen Colorado’s economy and move our state forward: 

  • Fiscal Responsibility with record reserves

  • Historic Investments in Education and Workforce

  • Putting Money Back in Coloradans Paychecks and Supporting Colorado Businesses 

  • Healthy and Safe Communities

Governor Polis thanked the members of the committee including Sen. Dominic Moreno for his leadership as committee chair and congratulated Rep. Julie McCluskie on her election to committee chair. Gov. Polis also thanked the staff at the Office of State Planning and Budgeting for their work on this budget proposal. 

The Governor’s budget delivers results for Coloradans by putting more money back into their paychecks, helping fight off pandemic-induced inflation. 

Historic Investments in Education & Workforce

  • Proposes one of the biggest total and per-pupil investment that the state has made in our K-12 system

  • Reduces the Budget Stabilization Factor by $150 million to 4.7%, the lowest it has been since its peak in FY 2012-13

  • Proposes to pre-pay an additional $300 million to the State Education Fund in order to maintain this new, higher level of investment in our K-12 schools

  • Adds financial aid and investments to reduce the cost of higher education

  • Invests $30M in one time funds for the renovation of up to 15 state facilities to include child care centers across educational institutions or work sites so that our state leads by example

  • Adds $21 million to help workers find good-paying jobs

Putting Money Back in Coloradans Paychecks and Supporting Colorado Businesses

  • $104M in Fee Relief for Individuals and Businesses, including FAMLI Paid Family and Medical Leave premium relief, Healthcare Professionals fee relief, and partnering with Secretary of State Jenna Griswold to make it Free to Start a Business

  • $600M in unemployment insurance premium relief for Relief from Pandemic-Related Unemployment Insurance charges and support for Family leave to save employers and workers money on payroll taxes

  • $51 million to help businesses find workers and helping workers find good-paying jobs through child care, short-term credentials and apprenticeships

Saving People Money on Health and Behavioral Care

  • Transforming home and community-based services → raising our caregiving workforce wages to $15/hour to ensure Medicaid access to services

  • $24 million for innovation to reward high-quality care that is cost-effective (HCPF and DOI alternative payment models)

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

  • Leverages $550 million in Investments to really address the behavioral and mental health crisis our state is facing. We’re looking to partner with local governments to make that investment even more than $550 million to address substance abuse, depression, and reduce the suicide rate. 

Healthy and Safe Communities, Public Safety

  • $16.6M in public safety workforce: Investments include funding to support access to mental health services, help train and recruit law enforcement officers to support diversity of the workforce reflecting the communities they serve. 

  • $35.9M in community public safety investments include funding to make our streets safer through lighting improvements; increased community watch; and proven neighborhood models, create a blueprint that connects schools, public safety, public health and other agencies into a single response; and provide grant resources for school safety enhancements, such as expansion of mental health resources and infrastructure improvements to keep students and staff safe.

  • $6.0M in domestic violence initiatives: Funding will be available for gender-based violence services, including anti-domestic violence and anti-sexual assault services, to mitigate the compounded safety concerns faced by interpersonal violence survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • $47.9M in behavioral health investments, including proven strategies that both reduce crime and increase access to treatment for Coloradans in crisis, funding to implement criminal justice early-intervention programs to prevent at-risk individuals from becoming involved, or further involved, in the criminal justice system, adding additional bed capacity to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan, and bolstering our behavioral health workforce by offsetting loans, providing scholarships, and leveraging bonus payments in underserved communities.

  • $7.1M in recidivism reduction initiatives: Investments focus on improving youth outcomes after release, fostering humane and purpose-driven facilities, and enhancing formerly incarcerated individuals' ability to re-enter the workforce and make an associated positive impact in their community.

  • $6.8M to improve the capabilities of the state forensics lab and increase the ability of the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to support local law enforcement

Homelessness Response Solutions

  • $100 million that will be leveraged with local and external resources to at least $200 million for a competitive matching grant program designed for local communities to reduce homelessness investments in two key supportive residential recovery campuses, one in Denver ($50M) and one at our state-owned Ridge View site ($45M) leveraged dollar for dollar with local matching funds from regional communities; and

  • $5M investment to help inform intervention strategies and create a lasting structure for efficient coordination of resources. 

Investing in Main Streets Colorado

  • One-time state General Fund investment of $40 million dedicated funds for designing and building safer streets. CDOT’s Main Streets program has revitalized the use of urban roadway space for active transportation, economic activity, community, and recreation in communities across the state. 

Air Quality

  • Investing $424M of one-time General Fund in a broad set of targeted initiatives.

  • $255M for rapidly greening our transportation system, including $150M to position Colorado as a national leader in the electrification of our school bus fleet;

  • $50M for decarbonization of the industrial and aviation sector;

  • $4.5M for the environmental efficiency of our cannabis industry

  • $52M over two years to drastically increase resources available to our Air Pollution Control Division to monitor and regulate emissions, support changing over to cleaner technology, and more thoroughly engage with our communities.

  • The budget also includes a capital request for Colorado’s state-owned buildings that prioritizes $225.9M in projects that mitigate environmental harm and resource waste.

Housing That’s Affordable

  • $100 million for investments in strong communities, to provide infrastructure grants for local infill infrastructure needs to help support and catalyze affordable housing development 

  • $25M for financing energy improvements in affordable housing

  • $25M for housing innovation incentives to support and grow businesses in prefabricated housing

  • $25M for Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s Middle Income Access Program

Read the Governor’s letter and the entire proposal.