Mar 9, 2021 - News

What's in the COVID stimulus bill for Colorado

Illustration of the Colorado flag with a dollar sign and the coronavirus instead of a C and the sun.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Colorado is expected to get a $6 billion infusion from the COVID relief bill to help bolster state and local governments, new estimates provided to Axios show.

By the numbers: The bulk of the money — an estimated $4.1 billion — will go to the state with the remaining $1.8 billion distributed to local governments, according to U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper's office.

Details: Other parts of the $1.9 trillion plan — which now goes to the U.S. House for final approval — provide additional cash in key areas:

  • $1.2 billion to provide resources for Colorado schools to reopen.
  • $466 million to help child care facilities operate.
  • $495 million for Colorado universities and colleges, with half earmarked to provide grants to students.

State of play: The new federal money is icing on the cake. Colorado saw a 5.7% increase in tax revenue during the pandemic — one of 20 states that landed in positive territory last year, a New York Times analysis shows.

  • One factor that helped keep Colorado afloat is the $25.1 billion in federal aid that flowed into the state as part of the first stimulus bill, including about $4 billion to state agencies.

The latest Colorado economic forecast shows at least $1.8 billion in surplus revenue for the next budget year that lawmakers can spend or save.

  • Yes, but: The new federal money comes after lawmakers slashed $3 billion and cut reserves to the lowest point in a decade to balance the coronavirus-sickened budget.

What's next: The one-time cash infusion will factor into the negotiations underway now between the Democratic-led General Assembly and Republicans on a bipartisan stimulus plan.

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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