In letter to Colorado Congressional delegation, members request funding for schools and housing, utility, nutrition and small business assistance

Denver, CO – Democratic lawmakers in the General Assembly today sent a letter to the Colorado Congressional delegation urging swift passage of a coronavirus relief package that includes significant aid to states and local governments, education funding, and housing, utility, nutrition, and small business assistance.

“We write to you to urge swift passage of a coronavirus relief package that first and foremost includes significant and flexible aid to state and local governments, to help preserve core functions and services for Coloradans amidst the budget crisis,” the members wrote. “We also hope to see an extension of critical unemployment insurance benefits, nutrition benefits, housing assistance, small business support, resources for schools and funding to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. We firmly believe that the proposal released this week by the Senate falls short of meeting the needs of our state in this pivotal moment, and we appeal to you to keep working to incorporate these critical components.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are agonizing over their financial future, and many are within days or weeks of being unable to pay their bills or losing their homes. We urge you once again to take swift action on behalf of our state to deliver a coronavirus relief package that meets the needs of our communities,” the lawmakers concluded. 

Nonpartisan organizations across the country, including the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, have also called for additional and flexible aid to state and local governments. 

The full text of the letter is below and can be read here:

July 31, 2020

The Honorable Michael Bennet United State Senator The Honorable Cory Gardner United States Senator
The Honorable Diana DeGette Member of Congress The Honorable Joe Neguse Member of Congress
The Honorable Scott Tipton Member of Congress The Honorable Ken Buck Member of Congress
The Honorable Doug Lamborn Member of Congress The Honorable Jason Crow Member of Congress
The Honorable Ed Perlmutter Member of Congress

Dear Members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation:

We deeply appreciate your dedication to our state and determined advocacy on behalf of our communities as Congress crafts its latest, and potentially final, coronavirus relief package. The federal resources you have secured to date have served as an essential lifeline for our communities, mitigating the impact of crippling budget cuts to our schools, universities, public health departments and local governments. Yet without further Congressional action, our state will have to reduce services for those who need them the most while thousands of Coloradans lose the economic assistance that has sustained them through this crisis so far.

We write to you to urge swift passage of a coronavirus relief package that first and foremost includes significant and flexible aid to state and local governments, to help preserve core functions and services for Coloradans amidst the budget crisis. We also hope to see an extension of critical unemployment insurance benefits, nutrition benefits, housing assistance, small business support, resources for schools and funding to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. We firmly believe that the proposal released this week by the Senate falls short of meeting the needs of our state in this pivotal moment, and we appeal to you to keep working to incorporate these critical components.

This year, we had to make significant cuts to the state’s budget to close a $3.3 billion deficit. These cuts have been painful, and the next few years will be even harder, as many of the reductions were one-time cuts that will not be available to lawmakers in the future. Furthermore, some of the most significant reductions were absorbed by institutions that received federal aid, which helped cushion some of the impact of the cuts. Failing to provide additional support would undoubtedly exacerbate our state’s devastating budget crisis and pull the rug out from under our school districts, local governments, and universities who would feel the full brunt of potentially even deeper cuts next year. To meet the needs of our state, the next coronavirus relief package must include at least $500 billion in flexible aid to states and additional funding for local governments, K-12 education and higher education. 

As lawmakers, we have all seen first hand the devastation this pandemic has had on our communities. If Congress does not boost the federal pandemic response and renew key programs, such as expanded unemployment insurance, we fear that the consequences borne by hardworking Coloradans will only be exacerbated. The legislature has taken swift action to direct federal resources to help Coloradans pay their rent, mortgage and utility bills and to support our small businesses, but this funding will not be enough. 

The next coronavirus relief package must also include additional housing, utility and small business assistance to bolster our state’s successful relief programs and stimulate our economy. Congress should increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15 percent, as more and more Colorado families rely on food pantries and nonprofit assistance. With many Coloradans struggling financially, the demand for these key programs has never been higher. We know Colorado can channel additional assistance directly to businesses and hardworking families to help them make ends meet, but we need Congress to act. 

Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are agonizing over their financial future, and many are within days or weeks of being unable to pay their bills or losing their homes. We urge you once again to take swift action on behalf of our state to deliver a coronavirus relief package that meets the needs of our communities. 

Signed:

Rep. Jeni Arndt, District 53 Rep. KC Becker, District 13 Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, District 32 Rep. Shannon Bird, District 35 Rep. Janet Buckner, District 40 Rep. Bri Buentello, District 47 Rep. Yadira Caraveo, District 31 Rep. James Coleman, District 7 Rep. Lisa Cutter, District 25 Rep. Monica Duran, District 24 Rep. Daneya Esgar, District 46 Rep. Tony Exum, Sr., District 17 Rep. Meg Froelich, District 3 Rep. Alec Garnett, District 2 Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, District 4 Rep. Matt Gray, District 33 Rep. Leslie Herod, District 8 Rep. Edie Hooton, District 10 Rep. Dominique Jackson, District 42 Rep. Sonya Jaquez-Lewis, District 12 Rep. Chris Kennedy, District 23 Rep. Cathy Kipp, District 52 Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, District 29 Rep. Susan Lontine, District 1 Rep. Julie McCluskie, District 61 Rep. Barbara McLachlan, District 59 Rep. Jovan Melton, District 41 Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, District 30 Rep. Kyle Mullica, District 34 Rep. Dylan Roberts, District 26 Sen. Jeff Bridges, District 26 Sen. Jessie Danielson, District 20 Sen. Kerry Donovan, District 5 Sen. Steve Fenberg, District 18 Sen. Rhonda Fields, District 29 Sen. Mike Foote, District 17 Sen. Leroy Garcia, District 3 Sen. Joann Ginal, District 14 Sen. Julie Gonzales, District 34 Sen. Chris Hansen, District 31 Sen. Pete Lee, District 11 Sen. Dominick Moreno, District 21 Sen. Brittany Pettersen, District 22 Sen. Robert Rodriguez, District 32  Sen. Tammy Story, District 16 Sen. Nancy Todd, District 28 Sen. Angela Williams, District 33 Sen. Faith Winter, District 24 Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, District 19   Rep. Jonathan Singer, District 11 Rep. Emily Sirota, District 9 Rep. Marc Snyder, District 18 Rep. Tom Sullivan, District 37 Rep. Kerry Tipper, District 28 Rep. Brianna Titone, District 27 Rep. Alex Valdez, District 5 Rep. Donald Valdez, District 62 Rep. Mike Weissman, District 36 Rep. Steven Woodrow, District 6 Rep. Mary Young, District 50