Government Affairs Update: Colorado

January 11, 2019

Governor Lists Priorities

Governor Jared Polis was formally sworn into office this week and gave his first State of the State speech on Thursday. He spent most of that speech focusing on his legislative agenda, including full-day kindergarten for all children, lowering the cost of health care, creating good-paying jobs in the clean energy sector and state tax reform to reduce taxes on Colorado citizens.

Most of his speech was not directed towards real estate issues per se. However, he did briefly discuss his thoughts on water, transportation and oil & gas regulation. He said, “The lifeblood of our agriculture industry is water — which is why we must commit to continue the bipartisan and sustainable funding for the Colorado Water Plan.”  The water plan has been widely touted as extraordinary however it faces a financial hurdle because the cost to implement it is estimated to be around $40 billion and the legislature has not enacted a funding plan.

As has been widely reported, the Governor changed his position on gas and oil setbacks, opposing Proposition 112. However, observers say he intends to focus on giving local governments more control, which will be strongly opposed by the gas and oil industry. Polis referenced this briefly, saying “And yes, it’s time for us to take meaningful action to address the conflicts between oil-and-gas drilling operators and the neighborhoods that they impact. We will work to make sure that every community has clean air and water. And this is a vital quality-of-life issue for Colorado families”

The Governor dedicated less than a minute to transportation, saying “To keep our economy moving in the right direction, we need to upgrade our antiquated roads and highways and limited public transit options.” In referencing the failed transportation measures (Propositions 109 and 110), the Governor asked for a “bipartisan funding mechanism” but did not list any specific ideas.

It has been said Governor Polis intends to be more hands-on with the legislature than his predecessor, John Hickenlooper. As the 2019 legislative session unfolds, we will see how he intends to do that.



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