Statement: Gov. Polis Releases Proposed Budget, Colorado’s Kids and Families Need to be Prioritized

Contact: Riley Kitts,
Title: Government Affairs Director
Phone: 303-960-6492
Email: Riley@coloradokids.org

Statement: Gov. Polis Releases Proposed Budget, Colorado’s Kids and Families Need to be Prioritized

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2nd, 2020

DENVER Today Governor Jared Polis released his proposed budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year to the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee (JBC)The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted budgets across the nation, from state and local governments to those of working families, and it is pertinent now more than ever that our state’s lawmakers and budget writers both dedicate and defend what precious resources we do have to supporting kids and families.  

The Children’s Campaign is pleased to see education, child care, addressing health inequities, behavioral health, eviction prevention and economic recovery as priorities in the governor’s budget. Gov. Polis has proposed an increase of $811m for public schools, restoring the cuts made to K-12 education last legislative session. We also applaud the focus on economic recovery and supporting families with proposals of $50M going to both sustain existing child care providers and expand access to child care throughout the state, as well as another $50m dedicated to housing and rental assistance to keep families in their homesThis focus on the pressures families are facing is a necessary first step in ensuring the 2021-22 state budget prioritizes children and families. The budget also includes a long-overdue focus on the early care and education workforce, including investments totaling more than $4M in the recruitment, retention, and compensation of early educators who have done heroic work in supporting families and essential workers during the pandemic. 

We also recognize that the JBC will likely face tough decisions in order to produce a balanced budget as is required by our state’s constitution. When legislators return to work in January, we strongly urge them to keep Colorado’s kids and families top-of-mind and prioritize critical areas that keep families stable. These include protecting funding for: 

  • Affordable health insurance coverage options like the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and the outreach efforts needed to support enrollment into these programs; 
  • The successful Family Planning Program to support the health and well-being of families and their children; 
  • Access to quality early care and education through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) and Colorado Preschool Program (CPP); 
  • Tuition-free full-day kindergarten; 
  • Student nutrition programs like Breakfast after the Bell and the Child Nutrition Lunch Protection Act; 
  • The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey and Smart Source, the two primary ways we are able to we understand the health and well-being of Colorado youth; and, 
  • The Eviction Legal Defense Fund, which helps families stay housed by providing counseling and representation during the eviction process. 

Funding for K-12 public schools makes up more than one-third of our total state budget, which often makes it a top target for reductions when the state faces budget cuts. We support the governor’s proposal to restore the cut that was made to public schools in FY 2020-21, and again urge state lawmakers to adjust the School Finance Act formula factors as a targeted solution for potential budget cuts instead of resorting to across-the board reductions through tools like the budget stabilization factor. 

Lastly, the Children’s Campaign recognizes that this budget proposal exists within the context of this year’s ballot and the decisions of our electorate. On Election Day tomorrow, Coloradans will make decisions for the state that will have lasting fiscal implications, which could be positive or negative. The Children’s Campaign urges YES votes on Proposition EE and Amendment B, which will help working families and give state and local governments much needed budgetary relief. And we ask for NO votes on Propositions 116 and 117, which will only dig the state into an even deeper financial hole.  

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About Colorado Children's Campaign


The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child well-being and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org. 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Riley Kitts, at 303-960-6492 or email Riley at Riley@coloradokids.org.