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Direct cash payments have been critical for Colorado families — Congress must pass more

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The last 11 months for Coloradans have been unprecedented in so many ways.

Whether you or your loved ones have suffered from the health impacts of COVID-19 or you’ve been affected by economic struggles, no one has been untouched by the pandemic. Coloradans, and Americans across the country, are suffering.

In the Spring of 2020, as the impacts of the pandemic intensified, many families were buoyed by the support from the federal government in the form of one-time $1,200 checks or expanded unemployment benefits. But as that has dried up like a desert, many hardworking Coloradans now wonder how they’ll pay for groceries or child care.

Here in Colorado we are doing everything we can to support those who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. That’s why, in partnership with Colorado’s legislative leadership, I took action last month to provide a one-time direct payment of $375 to more than 435,000 Coloradans who have faced unemployment because of the virus. Those payments have already gone out to Coloradans. While we know this is not enough to get Colorado families through the end of the pandemic, that won’t stop us from taking action to provide some much needed relief.

But we need the federal government to step up and do their part, too.

$600 is helpful but it’s a drop in the bucket when one in three Coloradans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. One in ten are struggling to pay rent. Nearly a third can’t afford household expenses, such as food, essential health care, or student loans. And the same communities that have historically faced barriers to housing, food access, health care, and more, are the ones who are struggling the most, including Black, Latinx, Native American, and immigrant families.

And while we are thrilled that the first COVID-19 vaccines have started being distributed and administered to front line health care workers and those age 70 and up in Colorado, we know it will be months before the general population has access to them. We can see the finish line, but we are not there yet.

Coloradans need real relief now. The more we can do to support struggling families and help boost our local communities now, the stronger we’ll bounce back once this public health crisis is over.

Direct payments, like those passed in the CARES Act or what we provided here in Colorado, are the fastest way to put money into the pockets of hardworking people who are in need of support. This money can help families stay afloat and allow more small businesses to keep their doors open.

That’s why I continue calling on Congress to pass a more comprehensive stimulus package that includes targeted direct payments for households who have lost income due to the pandemic and need it the most.

We are also deeply appreciative of the new round of Paycheck Protection Money that helps small businesses keep people on payroll, as well as making both rounds of Paycheck Protection tax deductible to help businesses rebound as the economy improves. But we also need targeted tax relief and help for small businesses that have been hit hard such as restaurants.,

Coloradans can’t wait for the next administration to get the support they need. Congress must provide the necessary relief for people to make it through this pandemic to prepare our economy and job creation to rebound quickly.

Jared Polis is the governor of Colorado.

Tags Covid relief Jared Polis Stimulus

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