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CO, MT Budgets Propose Increased Funding for Infrastructure, Workforce Development

November 19, 2014

Incumbent governors in Colorado and Montana released their budget proposals this month, with both of the proposed budgets including provisions that prioritize infrastructure spending, workforce development programs, and education. Infrastructure and capital projects in particular were popular among the proposed budgets, with Colorado’s budget allocating $281.6 million to improve technology infrastructure and Montana allocating $300 million for infrastructure, including $45 million to Eastern Montana communities impacted by oil and gas development. Notable provisions within the proposed budgets that are related to economic development are detailed below.

Colorado

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper unveiled his proposed FY2015-16 budget prior to this month’s election with an emphasis on education, transportation funding, capital construction projects, and technology infrastructure. The budget reflects requests of $26.8 billion in total funds with $10.3 billion requested from the General Fund. Under the proposal, Health and Human Services, K-12 Education, and Higher Education receive approximately 75 percent of all funds requested. Proposals within the budget related to economic development include:

  • $281.6 million to improve technology infrastructure with an emphasis on completing already started projects;
  • $1.8 million to expand the Colorado First and Existing Industry Job Training Program, which provides grants to companies relocating or expanding in Colorado or adapting to new technologies;
  • $400,000 to increase the availability of credit to small businesses through the Colorado Credit Reserve;
  • $350,000 to fund the Aerospace and Defense Industry Champion position, which was created to promote the interests of the aerospace and defense industries and to implement the state’s aerospace strategic plan as set forth in the Brookings report Launch! Taking Colorado’s Space Economy to the Next Level; and,
  • $25,000 to expand the Small Business Development Center Leading Edge Program.

Read more about Colorado’s budget here…

Montana

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget proposal for the 2017 biennium includes plans to expand Medicaid, start pre-kindergarten education programs, and retain a $300 million rainy day fund, all while focusing targeted investments in infrastructure, workforce development, and research. The budget, which increases state general fund spending by 5.6 percent in FY16 starting next July and 2.8 percent in FY17, will be reviewed by the state’s legislature when it convenes in January. Notable proposals within the budget related to economic development include:

  • $15 million for statewide broadband infrastructure;
  • An additional $15 million in the Montana University System to develop research-based solutions to challenges in the areas of agriculture, energy, natural resources, manufacturing, and health and biomedical advancements, industries that that will foster investment and job growth in the private sector;
  • An apprenticeship tax credit for Montana businesses that allow Montana residents to earn money while receiving on-the-job training
  • $500,000 to create and fund the Native American Gap Financing Revolving Loan Program, through the Department of Commerce, to help entrepreneurs secure financing and start businesses in Indian Country; and,
  • An additional $1.6 million to Montana’s Indian Country Economic Development Program (ICED) to support job growth, native private business development, and entrepreneurialism.

Read more about Montana’s budget proposal here…

Colorado, Montanastate budget