House advances five state stimulus proposals on second reading
DENVER, CO– The House today gave preliminary approval to five Colorado Comeback state stimulus proposals to give restaurants a leg up, invest in jobs training, close the COVID learning gap, and boost affordable housing opportunities. The bills are part of the $800 million package of legislation that will invest roughly $800 million into helping Colorado recover faster and build back stronger.
“Restaurants, bars, and other food service businesses took quite a hit during the pandemic, but many are on the mend as our economy continues to safely reopen,” said Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn. “Extending a crucial tax break that has served as a lifeline for many of these businesses will help our restaurant industry build back stronger. I hope and expect that the summer months will be a boon for small businesses across the state, and I’m proud to say that many of them will be able to take thousands of dollars in additional deductions.
HB21-1265, sponsored by Reps Kyle Mullica and Kevin Van Winkle R-Highlands Ranch, continues a successful sales tax assistance effort passed during the 2020 special session. It allows restaurants, bars, caterers, and food service contractors (such as airline food service contractors and food concession contractors at sporting events) to deduct up to $70,000 in net taxable sales from their monthly state sales tax return for five different locations and retain the resulting sales tax revenue during the months of June, July, and August 2021.
“Coloradans who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 are eager to get back to work,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton. “By investing in the SNAP Employment First initiative, we’re making sure that the Colorado comeback extends to low-income workers across the state. The skills and jobs training provided by this proven program will go a long way toward helping Colorado’s workers find rewarding employment that will support them for years to come.”
The SNAP Employment First initiative has successfully helped Coloradans who receive SNAP benefits obtain new skills to thrive and reenter the workforce. HB21-1270, sponsored by Representatives Tony Exum and Yadira Caraveo, leverages $3 million in state funds to draw down an additional $3 million in federal funds to provide a total of $6 million for jobs and skills training services to SNAP recipients. The funds may also be used to support work based learning opportunities and expanding 3rd party partnerships to expand the SNAP employment and training program’s reach.
“Affordable housing has long been a top priority for myself and my colleagues in the legislature,” said Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “The pandemic only heightened the need to take bold action to ensure that Colorado families can keep a roof over their head despite the economic turmoil. As we work to build back a stronger Colorado, we’re giving local governments the tools and the funding they need to meet the unique affordable housing needs of their rural, rural-resort, suburban and urban communities.”
Local governments are on the forefront of building affordable housing, but often lack the tools and resources to increase the available housing stock. HB21-1271, sponsored by Representatives Julie McCluskie and Iman Jodeh, provides $13 million in incentives and technical assistance to local governments to provide for the rapid deployment of affordable housing projects and to also ensure local communities have the tools and resources they need to help them identify and meet their unique housing needs.
HB21-1234, sponsored by Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, would create and fund the Colorado High Impact Tutoring Program. Data consistently demonstrates that high-impact tutoring, when administered during the school day to groups of four of fewer students by the same qualified tutor at least three times per week, is one of the most effective interventions to raise student achievement. This program would be administered under the Colorado Department of Education and would provide grants to local education providers for high impact tutoring programs designed to address COVID-related learning loss. The bill outlines the process and requirements for applying for funding, and establishes that rural education providers and schools serving low-income or underserved students must be among the criteria taken into consideration in awarding grants.