COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– With 30 bills to consider in, what is now, two days time, Colorado’s elected law makers are working through Thursday to provide financial relief for people and businesses affected by the pandemic, while funding the public health response.
Monday began the Special Legislative Session called by Governor Jared Polis in order for the state legislature to allocate funding to respond to the pandemic.
“One of the first things we have to ensure we do is be the COVID for those being impacted by the pandemic,” said Sen. Leroy Garcia, a Democrat from Pueblo and the State Senate’s president.
Restaurant owners remain hopeful state lawmakers will vote for relief this week. Industry leaders said more and more restaurants will close if nothing happens in the form of economic stimulus, according to KDVR.
Progress continued late Monday as Democrats and Republicans worked to get bills on the governor’s desk.
“We’re at a breaking point right now,” said Nick Hoover with the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA).
Hoover said a CRA survey, released this month, found nearly a quarter of restaurants in the state will consider closing within a month under indoor dining restrictions. More than half will consider closing in three months’ time, according to the survey.
A special session of the General Assembly is mobilizing state resources to wage war against the pandemic’s economic hardships.
Hoover, who handles government affairs for the association, provided testimony concerning two bills before House lawmakers on Monday. He said HB20B-1004, that would allow restaurants, bars and food trucks keep up to $2,000 in sales taxes, per month, until February, is a step in the right direction.
“HB20B-1004 has the potential to get some money directly into their hands in a timely fashion,” Hoover said.
SB20B-001 would provide restaurants and other small businesses direct aid through grant applications to the total tune of $57 million.
“None of the bills that have been introduced, on their own, are going to be the savior to the industry,” Hoover said. “The industry is just in such dire straits right now.”
Businesses across Colorado — and the country — are pleading for more help from Congress. Meanwhile, final passage of state measures could occur as soon as Wednesday.