Governor Polis Presents Balanced FY-2023-2024 with Record Reserves to The Joint Budget Committee
Gov. Polis Budget Calls for Investments in Per Pupil Funding, Public Safety, Protecting Air, Land and Water, and Efforts to Save People Money
DENVER - Today, Governor Polis, joined by Director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting Lauren Larson, presented his 2023-2024 budget to the Joint Budget Committee of the general assembly.
The proposed budget has four major investment areas, including saving families money and investing in our future, making neighborhoods safer and more affordable, protecting our land, air and water, and delivering a balanced budget with record reserves. Governor Polis plans to submit amendments to his budget in January following the December economic forecast.
“We have worked to make a balanced budget that has record reserves to save for a rainy day and saves people money. We are working to build affordable and safe communities, improving our education system for all students, creating more housing near where people live and work,” said Gov. Polis. “This balanced budget will help solve problems and I am excited to start working with the new and returning members of the JBC and the legislature to ensure Colorado is the best place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.”
The Governor’s budget focuses on building off previous investments that will continue to save people money and lower costs while securing today and investing in a tomorrow that ensures all Coloradans can thrive.
Investing in Education:
- Universal Preschool: Adds $10 million to build capacity for the universal preschool program and increase provider participation across the state.
- K-12: Proposes an increase of $704 million, averaging $861 per pupil and $19,000 per classroom funding to build on last year's transformative classroom investments. Decreases the Budget Stabilization Factor to a 14-year low of 3%. Adds $6 million to continue the successful I-Matter program that provides free counseling services to youth.
- Higher Education: Proposes $86 million towards higher education to keep tuition increases to half of inflation and ensure Colorado higher education institutions remain accessible. Invests $3 million to expand the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship which supports students in getting their degrees and decreasing debt.
- Proposes a historic $8.4 million investment in school safety strategies. Invests to improve and secure school’s infrastructure, expands school safety training, and better support for local schools to keep schools safe.
Saving People and Businesses Money and Lowering Fees:
- Continues to support small businesses, including $8 million to continue to make it nearly free to start a business.
- Reduces background check fees for people entering the childcare workforce to continue to grow the profession.
- Continues free transit during August to save people money and improve air quality during the peak ozone month.
- Purposes $15 million towards innovative affordable workforce housing projects through the private-public partnership program to save people money and create new housing opportunities.
Public Safety Investment Package:
- Proposes $42.1 million towards public safety investments and reducing crime. Includes investments for improving tools and resources to reduce auto theft, continuing to support local communities to lower crime rates, expanding crime prevention strategies, and supporting recruitment and retention of the public safety workforce.
Saving People Money on Behavioral and Health Care:
- Invests $5.5 million in youth behavioral health services to increase accessibility and ensure less wait time for services.
- Decrease insurance premiums from between $2800- $7500 through the Reinsurance Program, saving people money on healthcare costs.
- Adds investments to improve maternal and infant health resources through doula services and donor milk programs.
- Adds resources to keep building on the $200 million in investments from the previous legislative session to reduce homelessness and provide local communities support in creating new resources.
- Increases resources for those at-risk of homelessness including $5 million in housing vouchers for former foster youth and expanding housing programs for at-risk or homeless adults.
Protecting Our Land, Air and Water:
- Wildfire Mitigation Package: Invests $38.3 million in mitigation, suppression and recovery to ensure proper wildfire readiness. Includes $13.8 million in aerial resources to more effectively and efficiently detect and stop wildfires, $7.2 million to support local firefighters and mitigation efforts and $3.2 million to create a statewide fire data program.
- Preserving water quality and protecting rights and access: Proposes $17.6 million towards the State Water Plan. Invests $1.9 million to protect our Colorado River Compact rights and $30 million in federal funding matching to draw down the water infrastructure and matching funds.
See the full budget letter and slides.