Roberts: Big wins for Colorado in 2024 Legislative Session

The Colorado General Assembly just adjourned our annual 120-day legislative session. As we concluded our work, spirits were high as several important bipartisan efforts were successfully passed, including a permanent solution to slow property tax growth, modernize our school funding formula, protect thousands of acres of wetlands, and much more .

Additionally, the partisan rancor that often dominated headlines last year has been significantly reduced this year, and Colorado will be better for it as we work together to provide much-needed solutions and progress on some of our state’s most pressing challenges. For me, responding to the needs of the rural and mountain communities I serve in the State Senate made me work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and always focus on results, and we got a lot of good done.

Cost of living

Addressing the rising cost of living in Colorado was a priority this session. To that end, we cut income taxes, reduced sales taxes, and made it easier for working families, parents, educators, healthcare professionals, and many others. This was done through a bill that will be the largest tax cut in Colorado history, as well as several pieces of legislation to expand existing successful tax credits and create new ways to promote the workforce Colorado needs.

Affordable housing and property tax relief

Affordable housing and the impact of rising property taxes have been a major issue before the legislature for several years. I was proud to introduce and pass SB24-002, which authorizes counties and cities to establish property tax credits for homeowners who rent to long-term tenants or who need community services, such as child care.

I also supported bills that will help the state significantly expand the availability of affordable housing. Finally, we passed a bipartisan property tax bill. The legislation will provide more than $1 billion in residential property tax relief, reduce commercial property tax rates, stop the growth of future property tax rates, and provide local governments with certainty what do you need.

Protecting water

We continue to make significant progress to secure the future of water. I worked to implement the recommendations of the Colorado River Drought Task Force with SB24-197, which will expand protections for agricultural water, increase stream flows, keep water in the Yampa River as water companies energy explore new energy production and will increase funding for our tribal nations. for water projects.

Chairman McCluskie and I successfully restored environmental protections to Colorado’s wetlands, streams and rivers after the U.S. Supreme Court removed them last year.

I was proud to sponsor the annual water projects bill that includes millions of dollars to fund the Water Plan, conservation and infrastructure improvements, and $20 million to help the Colorado River District secure Shoshone water rights on the Western Slope. We also passed legislation to ban the use of non-functional, water-intensive grass in new developments and added funding to the popular grass replacement program.

Invest in rural economies

Supporting small businesses and encouraging new businesses in rural Colorado was one of my top priorities this year. Working with local stakeholders, we crafted SB24-190, a bill that will incentivize companies to locate in communities transitioning to coal, specifically Craig and Hayden, and use the rail line to transport freight, which will Making mountain passenger rail more fiscally feasible, will bring new businesses and jobs to the region, and facilitate both tourism and local passenger traffic.

Additionally, I was excited to be a lead cosponsor with Rep. Lukens of HB24-1001, which will expand the successful rural boost program I helped expand several years ago.

I introduced and passed SB24-194 which will allow fire and ambulance districts to use new funding sources to keep up with new construction and increased demand for their services. I also passed SB24-221 which will increase funding for the Rural Healthcare Workforce Initiative and send much-needed dollars to rural hospitals.

Historical support for education

Finally, this year was transformative for Colorado students and schools. The 2024 state budget and School Finance Act will provide historic funding for K-12 public schools and eliminate the Budget Stabilization Factor, increasing average per-pupil funding by $780 next year. We also passed a historic policy to reform Colorado’s public school funding formula that will direct more resources to support schools that need it most, such as rural schools in Western Slope communities.

Now that the session is over, I am grateful to be home with my family and look forward to connecting with people as we look back at this past session and begin preparing for the next one. I will be holding public meetings in all 10 SD8 counties over the next month and hope to see you at one or, as always, you can contact me directly at [email protected] or 970-846-3054.

Dylan Roberts is the state senator for Clear Creek, Eagle, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties.