During a quick three-day special session, Colorado legislators sent 10 bills with $300 million in COVID-19-related relief to Gov. Jared Polis for signature. The funding will go toward a variety of areas, including small and minority-owned businesses, housing, internet access for students, child care providers and food pantries.
Certain businesses are in line for relief as a result of the special session. Specifically, bars, wineries, breweries, restaurants and mobile food services will be able to retain sales tax. Additionally, child care providers and industries that have faced severe capacity restrictions, such as gyms, movie theaters, entertainment venues and restaurants, will receive some direct assistance.
The Denver Metro Chamber took positions on three of those bills.
- House Bill 1002: Emergency Relief Programs for Child Care Sector – This bill creates two emergency relief grant programs to provide support to child care providers and programs. The Child Care Sustainability Grant Program provides one-time grants to cover higher operational costs and offset lower revenue caused by the pandemic. The Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant Program provides one-time grants to existing or aspiring child care providers to help address the costs of expanding a program or creating a new one. To share our support, we also submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee. These two programs will provide aid to our existing child care providers to help them stay in business, which is critical to our workforce, and help rebuild some of the lost child care capacity so our economy and our communities can recover.
- House Bill 1004: Qualified Retailer Retain Sales Tax for Assistance – This bill allows bars, restaurants and mobile food services to retain certain state sales tax collected from November 2020 through February 2021 to help these businesses retain some revenue during these challenging times. The aim is to provide relief to some of the businesses most negatively impacted by the pandemic.
- Senate Bill 1: COVID-19 Relief Small and Minority Businesses Arts Organizations – This bill provides pandemic relief funding to industries that have faced severe capacity restrictions, including restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms. Additionally, it provides financial assistance to arts, culture and entertainment artists, crews and organizations, and one-time grants to assist minority-owned businesses.
Here are the other bills that passed.
- Senate Bill 2: Housing and Direct COVID-19 Emergency Assistance
- Senate Bill 3: Money for Energy Utility Bill Payment Assistance
- Senate Bill 4: Transfer to Make Money Available for COVID-19 Emergency
- House Bill 1001: Grants to Improve Internet Access to P-12 Education
- House Bill 1003: Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program
- House Bill 1005: Local Authority to Impose Food Delivery Fee Restrictions
- House Bill 1006: Insurance Premium Tax Payments and Credits
Read media coverage of this Special Session.
- Colorado Public Radio: How Colorado Lawmakers Spent $342 Million in Coronavirus Aid in Record Time
- The Colorado Sun: Colorado Lawmakers Water Down Requirement that Counties Comply with Coronavirus Restrictions to Get Aid
- Denver Business Journal: Why Colorado Business Leaders Have Mixed Reactions to Special Legislative Session
- The Denver Gazette: Takeaways from the Short Colorado Special Session
- The Denver Post: Here Are the 10 COVID-19 Relief Bills Colorado Lawmakers Just Passed
What’s Ahead in Policy in 2021
The 2021 legislative session is right around the corner. Hear from the Colorado General Assembly leadership at our Business Legislative Preview at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12. Register today!