Colorado governor slashes state spending, outlaws evictions and keeps ski areas closed in series of late-night orders
Gov. Jared Polis said Colorado does not have the money 'to carry on the functions of the state government.' He also directed his administration to funnel money toward nursing homes, which have been hard hit by the coronavirus
The Colorado Sun
In a late-night executive order, Gov. Jared Polis declared Colorado does not have the money “to carry on the functions of the state government” amid the coronavirus and immediately slashed $229 million in spending.
The emergency move to reduce state services — included among a series of other executive orders limiting evictions, boosting the response to coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and extending the closures of ski areas — is one of the most significant actions the Democratic governor has taken to address the impact of the coronavirus. And it’s possible more cuts will come from Polis in the weeks ahead.
“The economic disruption associated with (COVID-19) is causing precipitous and significant revenue shortfalls for the state,” the governor’s budget director Lauren Larson wrote in a letter to state lawmakers. “These are challenging times that force difficult financial decisions to maintain a balanced budget.”
When revenues decline so sharply that it will drain half or more of the state’s $814 million reserve fund, Polis is required by law to notify lawmakers and develop a plan to reduce the $30.5 billion budget.
The governor’s office made the order public after 9:30 p.m. and did not respond to repeated messages from The Colorado Sun seeking explanation. In the letter to lawmakers, Larson said the administration did not rely on “broad across-the-board cuts but rather specific line item reductions that can be made with the least possible impact to state programs and services.”