Mar 11, 2021 - News
Colorado governor announces expected $700 million state stimulus plan
Gov. Jared Polis stands at a podium
Gov. Jared Polis stands at a podium, flanked by lawmakers and business leaders, as he announces a new state stimulus plan at the governor's mansion Wednesday. Photo: John Frank/Axios

Moments after Congress approved a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill Wednesday, Colorado leaders debuted their own state-level stimulus package.

Driving the news: In the broad outline unveiled by Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic legislative leaders, the state would put between $636 million and $835 million toward 40 different initiatives designed to help those hurt by the pandemic.

  • The package is expected to land close to $700 million and total $1 billion with the addition of spending approved in December.
  • Colorado expects to get another $4 billion in state aid from the federal bill.

By the numbers: Half of the new state stimulus package is earmarked for construction projects.

  • An estimated $170 million will go toward improving roads and bridges, as well as the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel.
  • Another $20 million is set aside to build a new state park and renovate current ones.

Of note: Colorado will extend a current sales tax break for restaurants and bars at a cost of $40 to $50 million.

The big picture: The one-time money — an estimated $1 billion — is only available to spend because lawmakers cut too much from the current year budget amid dismal economic projections.

  • Colorado budget writers are promising to restore some of the cuts, particularly to schools.

The intrigue: Republican legislative leaders stood next to Democrats at the announcement, but they made clear they only support money that helps improve roads or reopen the economy and schools.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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