Jared Polis Steps Up Because Mitch McConnell Won’t

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports:

Colorado state lawmakers are preparing for Gov. Jared Polis to call a special session focused on COVID-19 relief.

Top Democratic officials in both chambers of the statehouse say they and the Democratic governor’s office have been in talks for weeks on a possible special session, and that the failure of Congress to pass a new federal stimulus package has added urgency to those talks of late…

The governor’s office, asked about the possibility of a special session, released this statement from Polis and Democratic legislative leaders: “Legislative leaders and the Governor’s office have been having productive conversations on how we can step up to help provide additional relief to Colorado businesses and hardworking families during these challenging times.”

This morning, Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette relayed more details on the relief package state lawmakers will take up in the special session expected to be announced by Gov. Jared Polis at a press conference this afternoon:

Polis already has proposed a $1.3 billion stimulus package for the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. That package contains $220 million in “shovel-ready public works and infrastructure projects,” mostly for the Department of Transportation and state parks improvements. Another $160 million would go toward broadband investments, including telehealth and education; $78 million for wildfire response; $106 million for small businesses — mostly direct aid grants to restaurants and bars, hit hard by capacity restrictions imposed by the state and local governments; and $168 million for the $375 payment for low-and middle-income earners who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

Another $200 million is included for “one-time stimulus legislative priorities.”

The stimulus headed to lawmakers for the special session is a subset of that $1.3 billion package, comprised of an additional $220 million in spending.

The key points of this economic relief bill are reportedly targeted at small businesses most in need of immediate assistance, including bars and restaurants. Also prioritized for help: Renters, child care assistance, and internet access for students being forced into remote learning by the virus’s resurgence. The increased urgency of the need for relief, after months of failure in Washington to make good on promises that helped seal outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner’s doom in the recent election, appears to be greasing the bipartisan skids in the Colorado General Assembly for passage. After all, the principal complaint earlier in the year from (mostly) Republican legislators is they didn’t have a role in appropriating some of the CARES Act’s targeted funds. They can’t say that in a special session.

We’ll be pleased to see this go off uneventfully, a sign that the state’s Republican minority is growing out of the past two years of pointless partisan “war footing” obstruction–or failing that, at least minimally listening to their struggling constituents.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. kickshot says:

    Preservation of income or shelter for those on the bottom leg of this k-shaped recovery are the most in need. Income subsidy and protection from eviction are the largest and most economically sensible tools. That money goes straight into the larger economy.

    Trickle up economics

  2. davebarnes says:

    Another $200 million is included for “one-time stimulus legislative priorities.” AKA Pork for the masses.

  3. bullshit! says:

    This is commendable but there's only so much we can do at the state level, esp. with TABOR on our backs. It all comes back to how McConnell and Cory Gardner fucked us. They killed people.

  4. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    In RepublicanFreedomWorld I think it is characterized as follows:

    Trickle down economics = Capitalism

    Trickle up economics = Socialism


  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Ok, that's all well and good, but I heard somewhere recently that this pandemic might just be a medical problem, too?

    So, how's about some $$ for expanded testing and providing results (and the staffing of those sites), and maybe also some funding to hire and staff some serious contact tracing?

    . . . I mean, if there's any truth to the rumor that this disease could possibly be some kind of a medical problem . . .

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Testing, tracing, and then SUPPORT to allow those testing positive and their contacts to isolate themselves as much as possible. 

      Acting to insure follow-on testing for contacts, needed medical support, a roof over their head, and enough food for them and those dependent on them.would be money well spent. 

      • kwtree says:

        If these were implemented, public schools could reopen for in-person education. Also most other businesses and agencies. 

        Of course, now, anyone in the door has their temp checked and is asked: Sore throat or sniffles?  Been exposed to anyone with COVID lately? And so on. 

        Ineffective, since as many as 40% of infected folks are asymptomatic. And infected folks can and have lied to stay on the team, keep their jobs, etc. 

        Rapid result reliable testing with appropriate supports for those sent home is the way to go.

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    Given the makeup of our legislature, I will personally take great delight in seeing Patrick Neville ordered back to work by the Governor in order to have the Governor’s Covid agenda rammed down Mr. Neville’s extraordinarily ample piehole.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      You know there will be a big pissing match about wearing masks after which the GOP members will storm on en masse claiming that they are the 21st century version of Rosa Parks when reality they are Typhoid Mary.

  7. DavidThi808 says:

    Where’s the money for all this? The state can’t go into debt.

  8. Meiner49er says:

    Anyone else channeling Mary Poppins now? "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."

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