Statement on Colorado’s Investment Plan for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
May 24, 2021 (DENVER)—Attorney General Phil Weiser released the following statement regarding the state’s plans to invest federal funds made available to Colorado as part of the American Rescue Act:
“I applaud Governor Polis, our federal representatives, our General Assembly leadership, and the Joint Budget Committee for developing a plan to invest Colorado’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act’s funds. The investment of these funds, as the Rescue Plan recognizes, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recover from a deadly and challenging pandemic. The needs identified in the Colorado plan are compelling and promise to enable Colorado to build back better as we near the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, I asked the legislature to consider several important components to be considered for inclusion in funding investments.
- Investing in Colorado Water Projects. Over the last year, we witnessed historic wildfires and the deepening of a severe drought, reflecting challenges created by a changing climate. In Colorado, water is life; we depend on it for our agriculture, outdoor recreation industry, and daily lives. As we work to adapt to a changing climate and our rapidly growing population, we must work together collaboratively across our state and lead with a spirit of innovation to meet the challenges of managing our water resources effectively. As a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, I know firsthand that this includes fully funding the needs identified in the Colorado Water Plan—our future depends on investing appropriately in this area. That’s why I urge the legislature to invest $100 million or more towards this effort—while this is a small portion of the total $3.8 billion in stimulus funds the state will receive, such an investment will pay tremendous dividends for our long-term future and the health of local, particularly rural and agricultural, economies.
- Combating Unemployment Insurance Fraud. With the staggering rise in identity theft and fraudulent unemployment insurance claims during the COVID-19 recession, the Department of Law is partnering with other agencies to investigate these crimes. Taking on this magnitude of fraud—which has already cost the state tens of millions in taxpayer dollars—requires additional resources to ensure robust and effective enforcement. To that end, I am hopeful the legislature provides additional funds to combat, investigate, and prosecute those who defraud Colorado’s Unemployment Insurance program—so we can ensure these needed dollars are protected to help those persons struggling to reenter the workforce.
“Today, I sent a letter to the Joint Budget Committee outlining these and other priorities that will benefit our state. I thank the committee for its leadership and look forward to working with the General Assembly and the Governor.”