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By Ann Schimke and Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado
With no federal stimulus in sight, Colorado lawmakers will look to provide much needed relief to ease the effects of the coronavirus pandemic during a special session that starts Monday.
Lawmakers are expected to provide relief for at least two education topics.
The unexpected special session, which was announced by Gov. Jared Polis on Nov. 17 and could last less than a week, will occur thanks to better-than-expected tax revenue. Polis wants lawmakers to take up seven issues, including small businesses, housing and utilities assistance.
In the executive order setting the date of the special session, Polis said families and small businesses can’t afford to wait until the regular session starts in January.
“Businesses and families need assistance to get through the challenging winter ahead,” Polis’ executive order says. “To meet this moment, we must make critical investments as soon as possible.”
In May, lawmakers passed a budget with a predicted $3.3 billion revenue shortfall due to a coronavirus-ravaged economy. The state, however, has so far brought in about $200 million to $300 million more than expected.
House Speaker-designate Alec Garnett, a Denver Democrat, said the funds are one-time money only and should be used to help Coloradans in the absence of another round of federal stimulus funds.
“It makes sense to me that we should use that money in a stimulative nature and in a multiplying-effect across our economy to help people get through these very challenging times,” Garnett said.