In the midst of a global pandemic and a challenging year that has severely impacted the lives of Coloradans, Democrats came together to deliver urgent relief to struggling Coloradans and build our state back stronger. Whether it was demanding the collection of racial data to be able to identify disparities or ensuring an equitable vaccine roll out, Leslie fought to prioritize vulnerable populations throughout the pandemic -- and she won’t stop.
Building Back Stronger.
This past year, Leslie and the Joint Budget Committee moved $3.8 billion in federal stimulus and $800 million in state stimulus to help our communities and businesses build back strong from the COVID-19 pandemic. The developed state stimulus package fosters the Colorado Comeback, makes monumental investments to strengthen small businesses, supports Colorado families, invests in rural Colorado, and develops our workforce. Specifically, lawmakers passed bills to:
Create a $30 million startup loan fund for businesses across the state;
Provide $15 million in grants to small businesses;
Invest $22 million to support artists and arts and-culture organizations;
Provide more than $100 million to increase child care capacity and affordability;
Create a $30 million loan and grant program for Colorado’s agricultural sector;
Add $8 million to rural economic development programs; and
Allocate $75 million in for upskilling and reskilling our state’s workforce.
In addition to passing state stimulus policies, state leaders worked collaboratively to enact Colorado’s roadmap to Building Back Stronger – embarking on a statewide listening tour to gather input on how to allocate nearly $4 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The resulting legislation immediately deployed hundreds of millions of dollars to make housing more affordable, provide emergency behavioral health services and help workers complete degree or skills-training programs. The roadmap also dedicated $1.3 billion in federal funds to protect critical state services in future years and set aside nearly $1.8 billion for future transformational investments in housing, behavioral health, education and workforce development, and economic stimulus and recovery that will be crafted through bipartisan interim processes.
Leslie continued her work to help Coloradans recover strong by allocating $13.5 million to support the Creative Industry Cash Fund, $3.5M to artists and arts organizations for financial relief, $6 million to the Office of Film, Television, and Media [HB21-1285], $15 million to support our small businesses [HB21-1302], and more.
Leslie knows that the road to recovery is long, but she is committed to being there every step of the way to ensure that all Coloradans recover strong.