A top priority for the state aid provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was shoring up the state budget for the near term, so as our state and people are recovering from this global pandemic we did not have to cut back on critical state services, such as funding our K-12 schools, higher education, existing mental and behavioral and physical health programs, and our ongoing public health response to COVID-19. That’s why nearly a third, or nearly $1.3 billion of the federal relief funds, have been or will be invested in ensuring budget integrity for the next several years. A common refrain from the listening tour was the opportunity to use this once in a generation funding infusion to make transformal change on the greatest challenges facing our state, including saving Coloradans money by making housing more affordable, addressing homelessness, working on mental and behavioral health challenges, and improving workforce development.
We will also use these one-time funds for recovery, relief, and job creation, including to catalyze long term, sustainable investments in our roads, bridges, transit and parks to modernize our critical infrastructure, improve our quality of life and build on Colorado’s competitive advantage of our natural beauty that attracts businesses and people to locate here. We recognize that the pandemic disproportionately impacted some communities more than others, which is why we’re putting dollars towards community grant programs, nonprofit support, and investing in our healthcare workforce — our human infrastructure.
This one time money gives us the opportunity to make sure Colorado builds back stronger by investing in what we already know makes Colorado special; our people, our small businesses, our quality of life, and our public lands.
In the second half of 2021, interim legislative convened to study and examine the highest uses for ARPA funds to be appropriated during the 2022 legislative session to address housing costs, mental and behavioral health needs, workforce development resources, and providing further economic recovery and stimulus.
Interim Committee Reports