CO Ag Commissioner Says Polis Budget will Assist Rural Needs

Kate Greenberg

 

Rural Colorado will benefit in a number of significant areas from the Governor’s proposed Colorado State Budget as it drives economic recovery and stimulus. Initiatives in the budget will protect funding for high priority programs and services in rural communities, and support the implementation of a cohesive economic development plan for rural Colorado.  

Key budget initiatives that support rural Colorado include investments in broadband services, rural transportation infrastructure, schools, health insurance, small businesses and agriculture resilience. 

“Colorado’s rural communities are vital to our state and we at the Department of Agriculture are pleased that so much of the Governor’s proposed budget dollars would be invested in them,” said Kate Greenberg, Commissioner of Agriculture. “And the stimulus package is only part of the investment–additional budget items are directed to serve rural Colorado and Colorado’s farmers and ranchers, who are essential to our state’s economy.” 

Highlights from the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget impacting rural Colorado include: 

•New funding to provide rural broadband access to an estimated 20,000-30,000 Colorado households.

•Increased per pupil funding as well as restoration of the educator loan forgiveness program to support educators in rural areas.

•Investments in higher education, with up to 100 fellowships designed to meet the needs of the rural education providers and students.

•Creation of an Agricultural Climate Resilience Office at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

•Extended funding for the Rural Jump-Start business incentive program and the Rural Economic Development Initiative grant program.

•A new State-managed school lunch warehouse and distribution system, leading to meal delivery that is more stable, more reliable, and a less costly source of USDA Foods.

•New investments in rural transportation infrastructure.

•Increased funding for telehealth services and ease of accessibility of behavioral health services. 

Governor Polis will present the budget request to the Joint Budget Committee on November 12th at 9 a.m.

 

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