Governor Jared Polis ticked off most of the points from his Jan. 9 State of the State address with a hefty dose of Adams County points during a special recap Jan. 16 at a Metro North luncheon. “We …
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Governor Jared Polis ticked off most of the points from his Jan. 9 State of the State address with a hefty dose of Adams County points during a special recap Jan. 16 at a Metro North luncheon.
“We know that we are all blessed to live in an amazing place, the amazing state of Colorado and in one of the greatest counties in Colorado, Adams County,” Polis said.
It was the first time a Colorado governor has taken their annual address on the road and Maria De Cambra, Director of Communications and Community Engagement said more visits around the state are planned.
The event was sponsored by the Metro North Partnership, formerly called the Metro North Chamber of Commerce.
Polis echoed most of the themes from his Jan. 9 address to the state legislature — praising legislators from both his own Democratic and the Republican party for cooperating in 2019.
“Working together last year, your legislature and your delegates from Adams County made significant progress in lowering health care costs, reducing taxes for small businesses, providing more affordable housing, making the state’s largest ever investment in transportation — although there is more to be done — and of course delivering free, full-day kindergarten for every student in our state,” Polis said.
There is more to do in 2020, however.
“Our state is seeing huge gains in jobs and economic growth, in population and tourism and in national and international prestige,” he said. “And yet, when you travel around our state — including in Adams County — you hear from folks that it’s clear too many folks are on an economic treadmill, where the paychecks don’t keep up with the cost of living.”
One goal is to rebuild the state’s rainy-day fund — reserves that help the state weather a future economic downturn.
“Remember how hard the last one hit Adams County, during the great recession,” he said. “I was a member of congress at the time and there were so many homeowners that were underwater with their mortgage.”
He’s recommending $118 million to be put into reserves, he said.
“That brings us back in line with the national average, to prepare us for a future downturn, so we are ready,” Polis said.
At the same time, he noted that the state’s 2020 tax rate has gone down from 4.63% to 4.5% for individuals, small businesses and corporations.
“That’s temporary, but I’m enthusiastic about working with Democrats and Republicans to deliver a permanent tax cut,” he said.
He also urged working to create equity with how the state’s education system is funded.
“Because of our state’s fiscal rules, the state spend to much back-filling the wealthiest districts,” Polis said. “In terms of mill levies, Adams County is maxed out while the mill levies of many wealthier communities are much lower, meaning the state is sending them more money and diverting money that should be going to Adams County. That truly is the root of our school funding issues.”
Regarding growth, the governor said he wants to establish more state parks and add improvements like better parking and other facilities to existing areas.
“Our growth is not only impacting our public lands and water. It also, if you’ve noticed, is also having an impact on traffic,” he said. “That means less productivity and less time with our loved ones. But thanks to good faith bi-partisan work in the legislature, the state was able to make a historic multi-year investment in transportation infrastructure this year. But it’s still not enough.”
He noted that voters have rejected three ballot issues over three three elections that were meant to pay for road improvements. He hopes to work with the legislature to find different ways to pay for road repairs and expansions.
“We also need to make sure we give local jurisdictions and (the Colorado Department of Transportation) more flexibility to work together on funding regional products,” he said.
He also urged the state to adopt renewable energy, both as a job creator for the state and a money saver for the government, for industry and residents.
“Our state is a state of can-do people,” he said, “We don’t back down from a challenge when the going gets tough. The state, our state, is strong, it’s working, it’s dynamic and it’s courageous. Now it’s time to get to work and the world what we can accomplish.”
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