Dozens of bills to stimulate the economy and build back stronger make their way through the legislature
DENVER, CO – House and Senate leadership today introduced five state stimulus bills that will boost startup businesses, expand access to broadband, support arts and cultural organizations, and ensure workers and communities in regions transitioning away from coal-based economies have the tools they need to thrive. The bills are part of the legislature’s $800 million Colorado Recovery Plan.
“As a leader of a community that is going through an economic transition, I’ve long sought to ensure workers have the tools and support they need as we transition to cleaner energy sources,” said House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “With the bipartisan Colorado Recovery Plan, we’re going to provide $15 million to the Office of Just Transition to create jobs and boost impacted communities like Pueblo and Moffat counties. This package of bills helps solve the problems of today and looks to the future by making historic investments in broadband access and helping entrepreneurs access the capital they need to grow their businesses and succeed.”
“As we work to build back a stronger, more resilient Colorado, we must strengthen the sectors of our state that will help stimulate our economy and ensure our communities thrive,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “These stimulus bills will bolster our local businesses, support vital community services, and uplift our workforce with the resources they need to succeed – putting Colorado on track to recover faster.”
HB21-1285: Supporting Artists, Venues, Film and Cultural Organizations, Sponsored by Representatives Benavidez & Herod and Senators Jaquez Lewis &Buckner:
Venues, artists, and so many other culturally vital organizations have struggled to make it through the last year. This bill provides $10M to support artists and cultural organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19 throughout the state. This includes funding for the performance based film incentive, cultural facilities and the CO Creative Industries grant program set up during the 2020 special session.
HB21-1288: Creating Access to Capital for Startups, Sponsored by Representatives Bacon & Duran and Senator Coleman:
Business closures have impacted communities across our state, often in different ways, leaving gaps in services and the availability of basic goods. To help fill the need created by COVID-19 related business closures, this bill provides $30 million in lending capital to entrepreneurs who face barriers to accessing traditional sources of capital and entrepreneurs wishing to restart or reorganize after facing pandemic related financial challenges.
HB21-1289: Expanding Access to Broadband, Sponsored by Representatives Kennedy & Baisley and Senator Bridges:
Colorado has an opportunity to help bridge the digital divide exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing broadband access for our students, communities and businesses. This bill provides $75M to increase internet access across Colorado through the deployment of devices, and the development of middle and last mile infrastructure to support services that have become a necessity during the pandemic, like telehealth. It specifically includes $20M for the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute Tribes.
HB21-1290: Funding Just Transition Office, Sponsored by House Majority Leader Esgar & Representative Will and Senate Majority Leader Fenberg & Senator Rankin:
In 2019, Democrats in the legislature created the Office of Just Transition to guide communities transitioning from coal toward economic resilience. This bill provides $15 million in funding for workforce programs, local capacity grants, transition-related economic development grants, and critical infrastructure investments to boost economies that have been dependent on coal.
SB21-248: Loan Program For Colorado Agriculture, sponsored by Senators Donovan & Simpson and Representatives McCormick & Holtorf:
Agribusiness provides more than 170,000 jobs in Colorado and contributes over $40 million annually to our economy, but the pandemic has dramatically reduced this growth. This bill allocates $30 million to create and implement the Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program which will provide low-interest loans to beginning farmers and ranchers as well as farm-to-market infrastructure loans for businesses – putting Colorado on a pathway toward a sustainable and prosperous future for the agriculture industry.