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Kara here with the Governor’s Community Engagement team! In an effort to continue to provide you with an official update from the Governor’s office, below are some updates and information that the Governor provided. We appreciate your support in helping to share these updates with your network. With the rise of COVID-19 in Colorado, it is critical that Coloradans stay safer at home whenever possible, and limit any socializing to one other household and less than ten people.
Quick Links to Stay Up to Date
The State currently has 112,147 cases, 2,292 total deaths (2,126 are due to COVID), and 9,114 hospitalizations out of 1,249,128 completed tests. Every death is a tragedy. There are families and friends mourning across our state today and we keep them in our thoughts.
In terms of new cases, 12 of the last 14 days have had an upward trend in the 7-day moving average of newly reported cases. And in terms of hospitalizations, 9 of the last 14 days have had an upward trend in the 7-day moving average of new hospitalizations.
This case data is broken down by various categories, is updated daily, and can be found here.
A new feature on your phone notifies you if you may have been exposed to someone contagious with COVID-19. By opting in through your iPhone device settings or downloading the app onto your Android device you can better protect yourself and your family.
Colorado continues to see very concerning trends. The state has now had three days in a row with more than 2,500 new cases. Two weeks ago, we were consistently below 1,000 cases per day. We have reached an alarming inflection point. It’s critical that Coloradans do a better job of wearing masks, limiting social interactions, avoiding crowds, washing their hands and physically distancing.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, please get a free, quick, and easy test. Visit covid19.colorado.gov/testing to find a testing site near you.
- Cameron Peak Fire: 208,913 acres and 85% contained.
- East Troublesome Fire: 193,774 acres and 37% contained.
- Middle Fork Fire: 20,433 acres and 60% contained.
- Williams Fork Fire: 14,833 acres and 75% contained.
- Calwood Fire: 10,106 acres and 76% contained.
- Lefthand Canyon Fire: 460 acres and 100% contained.
- Ice Fire: 596 acres and 90% contained.
Governor Polis Releases State Budget Proposal
Today, Governor Jared Polis released his budget proposal for FY 2021-2022, concurrently submitting his budget proposal to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) of the General Assembly. Gov. Polis’ second budget makes great strides in confronting Colorado’s most immediate challenges while making critical investments for the future.
The press conference started with a grim reminder of the environment in which this budget is being presented – with Colorado battling increasing numbers of COVID 19 cases and wildfires that have affected communities across the state. The budget and the economy are in jeopardy not to mention lives if we don’t stop social gatherings for a few weeks, wear masks when we are around others, and wash our hands regularly.
The Governor was joined by Budget Director Lauren Larson for the press conference to outline priorities for the FY 2021-2022 budget that address the challenges the state is facing, provide relief to hardworking Coloradans, and make a significant investment that will boost our economy.
This budget includes three key elements that will help jumpstart Colorado’s economy and make key investments in our state’s future:
- Restoring major reductions made to key areas in FY 2020-21 and ensuring essential services across government.
- Economic Stimulus that will bridge us to recovery and helps us Build Back Stronger — investing in jobs and growth – helping get Coloradans back to work while ensuring we are making decisions that will benefit us for decades to come. This budget isn’t just about getting back to where we used to be. It’s about using this opportunity to make strategic investments that will make our state more stronger and resilient.
- Saving for the future by restoring reserves to historic levels.
Why we can achieve these goals:
- Colorado’s economy is improving but the forecast projects an annual operating deficit through Fiscal Year 2023. This recession is going to affect Colorado’s state budget for years to come, which is why we must act strategically now to make our government more efficient.
- One-time funds carried forward can be used to reduce deficits and stimulate the economy to help Colorado recover faster and better.
- Investment in a robust recovery, coupled with adequate reserves, is the best way to ease budget pressures in future years.
This budget represents Colorado’s ability to rise and meet this pivotal moment, by:
- Stimulating the economy and helping those who have been most impacted, ensuring no one is left behind;
- Bolstering education and early childhood education;
- Investing in cleaner air, fire prevention and mitigation, to address climate change;
- Increasing access to health care and behavioral health services; and
- Furthering our commitment to build a Colorado for All.
Governor Polis doesn’t just want to get back to where Colorado was before the pandemic. The goal is to build ourselves back even stronger.
Coloradans have been through a lot this year: a global pandemic, economic recession, historic climate and drought induced wildfires, racial reckoning and civil unrest.
Each of these crises is only a reminder of exactly how important it is that we dig deeper and work harder to continue moving forward to create a better future for our state.
This pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in our systems, and forced us to think about the ways in which we can all do better.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during this crisis, it’s that the issues that affect all of us; education, health care, protecting our environment, and economic stability, are more important now than ever before. With this budget, we are restoring the painful cuts that were made in Fiscal Year 2020-21 and ensuring that the essential services Coloradans depend on, can continue.
Restoring Major Reductions
During the last legislative session, difficult decisions had to be made, including budget cuts. Governor Polis is proud that this budget is able to restore the major reductions that had to be made over the summer. The budget:
Restores and increases per pupil funding for education by $902M and returns the Budget Stabilization Factor to the FY 2019-20 level of $572M, leaving the funding gap at a nearly 11-year low of 6.6%.
- Restores funding for higher education institutions to FY 2019-20 level and maintains financial aid for students who need it.
- Restores funding for the PERA direct distribution to protect pensions for public servants.
- Funds caseload needs in Medicaid and human services.
- Invests in high need capital projects.
Bolstering Education and Early Childhood Education
The most important investment we can make in our future is in our children. This school year has been nothing like we expected and the pandemic has exposed the importance of having a safe environment where our kids can learn. Many families are experiencing the challenges of remote learning and our state’s educators, staff, and school leaders are working harder than ever before to make sure our kids get the education they deserve.
As noted above, this budget returns the Budget Stabilization Factor to the lowest level in nearly 11 years in percentage terms and restores funding for higher education to previous levels while maintaining financial aid for students.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Funding
Since day one, the Governor’s top priority has been the health and safety of Coloradans — and that continues today.
In the early days of the pandemic, Colorado acted swiftly to ramp up our testing capacity — setting up community testing sites across the state — worked to secure our own personal protective equipment for first responders in the absence of leadership from the federal government, and built up a contact tracing system to help contain the virus.
But this pandemic is not over and we all still have a role to play in limiting the spread of this disease. Many Coloradans are just plain tired of this virus, but as the Governor has said before, it’s not tired of us. We must all step up for our communities to help protect lives and help Coloradans stay safe by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and practicing social distancing.
The State is using $577M in available State and Federal funds for:
• Mass testing;
• Personal protective equipment;
• Support for local public health agencies;
• Contact tracing; and
• Improved patient care capacity.
To prepare for future expenses, the budget includes:
• $179M to repay emergency spending from the State Emergency Reserve; and
• Another $200M set aside in the budget for additional COVID-19 response costs in 2021.
Protecting Life and Property
This year, Colorado has experienced the top three wildfires in our state’s history. Nothing in the last 20 years even comes close to what we experienced in 2020.
Thousands of Coloradans were displaced by these drought and climate induced fires, and it’s too early to know just how many homes and structures were damaged or lost. To this day, some families have not yet been able to return to their homes.
This budget recommends $78M to improve the state’s ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from wildfires that are driven by a changing climate and increased population.
While we cannot go back in time and change this year’s wildfire season, we can do everything in our power to make sure that next year is better.
Stimulating the Economy & Ensuring No One is Left Behind
Many hardworking Coloradans have been suffering as a result of the economic challenges this pandemic has posed. Coloradans have been incredibly resilient and we are doing everything we can to provide relief to those who have been impacted.
Colorado has experienced one of the smallest drops in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to COVID-19 in the nation. This is evidence that our state is well positioned for a strong economic recovery, however, too many families still find themselves in a difficult situation.
That’s why Governor Polis is putting forth an economic stimulus and recovery package to help move Colorado in the right direction by strengthening our economy.
In total, this package includes $1.3 billion to help support local businesses, put Coloradans back to work and invest in our state’s future. The budget outlines utilizing targeted proposals with a high economic impact and strategic investments to help Colorado recover stronger and more quickly.
These investments fall into two major categories:
- Recovery: Immediate actions we should take to help Colorado through the winter of this pandemic
- Building Back Stronger: Stimulus package to supercharge our economy and give Colorado a competitive advantage in climbing out of this recession
– $200 million – one-time stimulus legislative priorities
Helping Our Own
While Washington D.C continues to negotiate a new relief package, many many people across our state and country continue to struggle without the support they need. But in Colorado, we take care of our own. That’s why last week, in partnership with the legislature, Governor Polis took action to direct payments into the pockets of hardworking Coloradans that have suffered job loss due to the pandemic.
The Governor announced that Colorado will distribute one-time direct payments of $375 to 435,000 hardworking Coloradans that have low and mid-income. Those payments will go out in early December.
This was an important first step to fill the void the federal government has left and help those who have been hardest hit by this recession.
The Governor’s budget also proposes $105M in tax relief and direct aid for restaurants, bars, and other small businesses hit by capacity restrictions. Our small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and we will provide state support to help them through the winter months.
Investing in an Equitable Recovery
This pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses and inequalities in our system that must be addressed. Communities of color have been hit particularly hard, and we want to make sure our recovery is equitable and helps those who have been most impacted by this pandemic.
This proposal includes:
- $50 million for housing eviction prevention and direct benefits for individuals who are not eligible for other assistance.
- $50 million in support to child care providers to enable the workforce to return to work.
- More than $30 million in grants and technical assistance for communities that have difficulty accessing capital, and a dedicated strategic fund in the minority business office.
- $4 million in grants for local law enforcement purchasing body cameras.
- $1 million to help Colorado identify health disparities.
Build Back Stronger
As Colorado begins to recover, Governor Polis does not just want to get back to where we were before. The Governor’s budget aims to make strategic investments that will not only boost our economy, but will support Colorado’s economic vitality far into the future.
To build back stronger than before, this stimulus package includes:
- $220M to create jobs by investing in shovel ready public works and infrastructure projects.
- $160M to invest in broadband infrastructure to enable business, education and health care.
- $140M to invest in our workforce and incentivize business growth in Colorado.
- $200M placeholder for one-time investments and stimulus priorities identified by the legislature.
Saving for the Future
While this budget has important relief that will help Coloradans immediately, the Governor also knows that our state will be dealing with the economic impacts of this pandemic in the years ahead.
That’s why Governor Polis is taking action to save funds for Colorado’s future. Not only to do everything possible to support Coloradans, but also to be a model steward of taxpayer dollars.
In the last quarter of 2019-2020 revenue plummeted as a result of COVID-19 and the state’s reserves were wiped out in just a few months.
This budget proposal would increase Colorado’s reserves to the highest level on record:
- General Fund reserves increase from 2.86% to 10% for FY 2021-22.
- Carries forward $1.26 billion to reduce the forecasted deficit in FY 2022-23 and protect against future uncertainty.
- Proposes a responsible savings package of $422 million ($272 million General Fund).
While we have restored the most painful cuts, we are still pursuing responsible savings. These efforts to find savings predate the pandemic, and are in alignment with the administration’s focus to make government more efficient.
Throughout this pandemic, transparency has been a priority and Governor Polis wants Coloradans to see exactly how these budget requests tie in with this administration’s goals.
The Budget Navigator is a guide to help connect the requests in this budget to the administration’s public-facing dashboard, and is organized into two categories: the Stimulus Package and the Bold Four.
Coloradans can use the dashboard as a transparent tool to follow progress made toward achieving budget goals.
A Budget for the People
This budget is for the people of Colorado. Governor Polis is proud to see how our state and our communities have responded to these challenges, but we are not yet in the clear.
While we have a long road ahead of us — together, Coloradans are going to come out on the other side even stronger and more resilient than when we started, and the Governor looks forward to working with the General Assembly to move Colorado further along down the path to recovery.
You can read the Governor’s letter and entire budget proposal here.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3 is Election Day. It is now too late to return your ballot by mail, so registered Coloradans should drop off their ballots at one of our hundreds of 24-our drop boxes or vote in-person at a local voter service and polling center before 7:00 pm on Election Day. You can register to vote and vote in-person on the same day up to the time polls close.
To find the nearest location to cast your ballot, please visit GoVoteColorado.gov. Happy voting, Colorado!
State of Colorado Job Openings
We are looking for new individuals to fill the following positions! Please feel free to share these openings with your networks.
Director of Disease Control and Public Health Response, Department of Public Health and Environment
Description: This position exists to lead the Programs/Branches in the Disease Control and Public Health Response Division. Duties include but are not limited to the following: Leadership and Management, Supervision and Appointing Authority, Quality Assurance/Process Improvement, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Provide Disease Control and Public Health Response Advice, Manage legislative and regulatory activities, and Other Duties as Assigned.
• Application Closing Date: 11/05/2020
• Apply: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/colorado/jobs/2894011/director-of-the-disease-control-and-public-health-response-dcphr-1558?keywords=director&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs
Workforce Area Director for South Eastern and South Central Regions, Department of Labor and Employment
• Description: As the person overseeing the workforce system in the South Eastern and South Central Regions, you will directly supervise staff and oversee a team of up to 35 people, including contract staff. You will work closely with your peers from other areas around the state, who are supported by a central administrative unit, and overseen by the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium (CRWC) Director. The Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium is housed within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
• Application Closing Date: 11/09/2020
• Apply: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/colorado/jobs/2888823/workforce-area-director-for-south-eastern-and-south-central-regions?keywords=director&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs
Director, Unemployment Insurance Division, Department of Local Affairs
• Description: The Director of Unemployment Insurance is an influential leader responsible for cultivating public and private partnerships across the state and nation to ensure Colorado reaches its goals, while remaining at the cutting edge of the Unemployment Insurance field. This position establishes the mission for UI to lead and direct the divisions and programs in Unemployment Insurance in support of the Executive Director and Governor’s vision. The Director guides the development and implementation of the division’s strategic direction, identifies and communicates the division’s priorities, and effectively manages resources, people, and operations toward achieving the CDLE’s mission and goals.
• Application Closing Date: 11/12/2020
• Apply: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/colorado/jobs/2879885/director-unemployment-insurance-division?keywords=director&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs
Senior Health IT Manager, Office of eHealth Innovation
• Description: The Office of eHealth Innovation is responsible for defining, maintaining, and evolving Colorado’s Health IT strategy to improve health for Coloradans through coordinated health IT infrastructure, policy, and innovation. The Office of eHealth Innovation was formed as a direct result of a consensus between public and private stakeholders on the need of Health IT governance. Executive Order B 2015-008 established Colorado’s Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission, with fiscal and administrative support from Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF). The Office and eHealth Commission continue efforts in 2020 and beyond focused on advancing priorities of the Polis-Primavera Administration. The Senior Health IT Project Manager reports to OeHI through the Project Management Office within OIT. This role is responsible for implementing key Roadmap initiatives and collaborating with stakeholders to ensure strategies and projects align with evolving state and community needs.
• Application Closing Date: 11/13/2020
• Apply: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/colorado/jobs/2884434/sr-project-manager-term-limited?keyw
Professional Land Surveyor- Denver Metro, Department of Transportation
• Description: The primary purpose of this position is to ensure plans and legal descriptions comply with state statutes, department policy, and contract stipulations. Other primary functions require development and certification of right-of-way plans, by signing and stamping plans. This position also conducts project control, topographic, and land boundary surveys, relating all coordinate information to geodetic coordinates using published control.
• Application Closing Date: Continuous
• Apply: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/colorado/jobs/2689076/professional-land-surveyor-denver-metro
State Boards & Commissions Openings
We are continually looking for qualified candidates to serve on almost 320 boards and commissions that oversee a large variety of subjects and make a wide range of decisions affecting your day-to-day lives as Coloradans. These boards are a tremendous opportunity for Coloradans to help govern and give back to the great state of Colorado. You can find upcoming openings and immediate openings due to resignations below:
• Statewide Independent Living Council
• Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp Committee
• Colorado Human Trafficking Council
• 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission
• Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission
• Minority Business Advisory Council
• State Housing Board
• Air Quality Control Commission
• Sickle-Cell Anemia Advisory Board
• Urban Drainage and Flood Control Districts
• Water Conservation Board
• Water Quality Control Commission
• Health Facilities Authority Board of Directors
Immediate Openings Due to Resignations:
• Food Systems Advisory Council
• Employee Ownership Committee
• Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commission
• Colorado Commission on the Aging
If you have any questions about Boards and Commissions, please contact Nikky Patel, Deputy Director of Boards and Commissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We greatly appreciate your help to share information during this crisis, and we will continue to send regular updates. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or needs from our office. My cell phone is 720-982-5204. Thank you for doing your part.
We are all in this together!
You can view the Governor’s press briefing and listen to his full remarks here.
Deputy Community Engagement Director
200 E Colfax, State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203