Nov 2, 2022 - Politics

Jared Polis' budget plan puts millions toward crime fighting

Photo illustration of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis with lines radiating from him.

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Gov. Jared Polis put his campaign promise to curb crime in Colorado front and center in his roughly $40.6 billion proposed state budget for the next fiscal year.

Driving the news: The Democrat has pledged to make Colorado one of the 10 safest states if he wins re-election next week. His budget plan would put $42 million more toward addressing public safety challenges, cracking down on auto theft, fentanyl and violent extremism.

  • $12.6 million would go toward an auto theft task force and 10 prosecutors to focus on convictions for those arrested.
  • $2.4 million would create two special investigation units inside the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to focus on "novel crimes," such as fentanyl distribution.

The intrigue: On the campaign trail, Republican rival Heidi Ganahl and her allies are attacking Polis, saying he hasn't done enough to address sky-rocketing auto thefts and fentanyl overdose deaths.

What he's saying: Asked whether his proposal comes too late, Polis told Axios Denver that "it's something that meets the needs today."

The big picture: Polis — who must submit a budget to the Legislature by Nov. 1 each year — pitched his spending plan to lawmakers as fiscally prudent.

  • It represents a 7% increase in discretionary spending from the general fund and sets aside 15%, or $2.2 billion, for reserves given the "great economic uncertainty" looking ahead, he said.

Of note: The governor's budget plan puts total spending at $42.7 billion, but it double counts some dollars shifted between departments.

  • It's also the starting point in a six-month process in which lawmakers set the state's annual budget.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more