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2020 State Budget Overview

Jun 1, 2020

Earlier this week, the Colorado House of Representatives approved the long appropriations budget bill (HB 20-1360) and about 40 other bills to balance the state budget. Click here to read the budget narrative

Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado is facing a $3.3 billion budget shortfall.

Below is a summary of the key actions proposed by General Assembly to balance the budget. Thanks to Aponte and Busam for information for this summary.

Actions you can take

Budget highlights

K-12 Education

  • Increase in budget stabilization factor - $724 million cut to K-12 funding
  • Suspension of grant programs created in 2018 and 2019 

Higher Education

  • Across the board cuts - $493 million (58%) 
  • The federal CARES act provides $450 million for higher ed.

Human Services - $46 million total from following programs:

  • Community Provider Rate Reduction – 1%
  • Cuts to Division of Youth Services for facility renovation and staff salaries
  • Cuts to county Child Welfare staffing and provider rates
  • Cuts to Office of Behavioral Health for low income, at-risk, pregnant women, jail-based treatment
  • Reduced funding for substance abuse treatment in the criminal justice system
  • Cuts to the nurse home visitor program
  • Cuts to Early Intervention Services caseloads and evaluations
  • Cuts to Family Resource Centers

Medicaid funding

  • 1 percent provider rate reduction - $25 million 
  • Restructure of provider fee on Medicaid hospitals
    • Transfer to general fund- $203 million total  
    • 6% total rate reduction for hospitals 
  • Increase member copays to allowable federal limit - $2.1 million
    • Loss of federal match - $6.7 million
  • 2% limit on statutory rate increase for nursing homes  - $3 million  
  • Delay inpatient Substance Use Treatment Benefit for 6 months ($8 million) 
  • Cut maximum annual dental benefit from $1,500 to $1,000 - $3.2 million
  • No cuts to Children’s Basic Health Plan (CHP+)

Transfers from cash funds to the general fund

  • Tobacco tax funds (Amendment 35) - $17.7 million
    • Tobacco Education, Prevention, Cessation Grants Program - $10.3 million
    • Cancer, Cardiovascular and Chronic Pulmonary Disease Grants Program - $7.4 million
    • Requires approval of 2/3s of House and Senate
  • Unclaimed Property Trust Fund - $73 million 
    • Include affordable housing funds  - $30 million 
  • Marijuana Tax Cash fund - $39.4 million


  • Closing a prison in Canon City and reducing capacity at a women’s prison in Pueblo

State employee salaries and benefits- about $274 million

  • Eliminate state employee salary increase, merit pay and state employer PERA contribution.
  • Increased employee PERA contribution by 2.5% 

Judicial department - $20 million

  • Salary and hiring freezes

Transportation/Capital Construction

  • Suspend general fund transfer to Highway Users Tax Fund - $50 million
  • Delay planned state new buildings/improvements - $19.7 million