Proposed Budget Highlights
The governor’s budget focuses on securing today and investing in tomorrow with four key elements: saving families money and investing in the future; building thriving Colorado communities by making neighborhoods safer and more affordable; protecting land, air, and water; and having a balanced budget with record reserves. Funding recommendations include:
- Invests $325 million for the first year of free universal preschool and $10 million to increase provider participation in the preschool program.
- Increases per pupil funding by an average of $861.
- Invests $6 million to continue program that provides free counseling services for youth and $8.4 million for school safety.
- Provides $86 million for higher education to keep tuition increases to less than half of inflation.
- In accordance with the amended Partnership Agreement, the budget includes funding for a 5 percent across-the-board salary survey increase and movement of all employees to a $15.75 per hour wage.
- Directs $8 million for fee relief to continue to make it nearly free to start a business in Colorado.
- Continues free transit services during Colorado’s high ozone period in August.
- Invests $42.1 million in public safety to increase resources to reduce auto theft, reduce crime, support the recruitment and retention of officers, and increase crime prevention strategies.
- Proposes rate increases for all providers.
- Invests $5.5 million to prevent a waitlist for youth behavioral health services.
- Provides $15 million for statewide innovative affordable housing projects implemented through the Public-Private Partnership Office to create more workforce housing.
- Invests $22.8 million in behavioral health services to address the most pressing needs including $3.5 million for Behavioral Health Administration personnel, $5.5 million for Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act services, $0.8 million for the Behavioral Health Learning Management System, and $6.0 million to support the forensic population and direct-care staff.
- Increases resources to help those at risk of homelessness including housing vouchers and supportive services for former foster youth and adults with disabilities who are transitioning from institutional settings to the community.
Wildfire Mitigation, Suppression, and Recovery
- Proposes a Wildfire Package totaling $38.3 million to help mitigate and recover from wildfires including funds to increase aerial resources to fight large wildfires, support and empower local firefighters and local mitigation efforts, add fire investigators, and establish a statewide fire data governance system.
Preserving Water Quality and Protecting Rights and Access
- Invests $17.6 million to continue work on the State Water Plan.
- Allocates $1.9 million to protect water rights under the Colorado River compact.
- Proposes $30 million towards the state match requirement for federal funds to draw down over $200 million in federal funding to finance clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects throughout Colorado.
Maximize Return on Investment
- Proposes an additional $61 million in matching funds to enable the state to compete for and win federal grants to upgrade Colorado’s infrastructure.
In early January, the governor submitted an amendment package detailing his priorities for his second term including property tax relief, closing the workforce gap, tax credits to improve the climate, and addressing declining math scores in K-12. In addition, in mid-January the governor proposed additional K-12 investments and ending recession-era education debt