Year-End COVID Bill Fails to Invest in the Essential Workers and Services Needed to Keep Families Afloat Amidst Pandemic, Leaves Communities Back Home Out in the Cold
Pueblo, CO – As Congress passes year-end COVID legislation, Colorado WINS Executive Director Hilary Glasgow issued the following statement:
“Every state budget across the country — including Colorado — is impacted by the pandemic. As many working families suffer as a result of the economic downturn, the need for public services is even higher, due to the demands of responding to COVID-19.
That’s why it’s so disappointing that our elected leaders passed COVID relief legislation that fails to get money flowing into our communities to invest in the very people getting us through this pandemic. We need to respect, protect and pay the people providing services that are keeping communities running throughout this crisis — and, in many cases, at great personal risk to themselves and their families.
The newest COVID bill includes some badly needed relief like funding for unemployment benefits, education, and vaccine distribution. Still, Senate Republicans, including Cory Gardner and Mitch McConnell, have not done nearly enough to support the millions of families who are suffering and states that are struggling to meet basic needs in our communities.
Our communities need targeted investment, especially Black, Latino, Asian, Native, and immigrant communities that are becoming ill, dying, and losing jobs at higher rates. Congress needs to work together to pass a relief bill that will inject funds into state and local governments, so Colorado can continue to deliver vital public services that keep our communities safe and our families healthy.
Without urgent federal help, Colorado’s state and local governments may not be able to provide the critical services many residents depend on, like transportation, access to health care, and protecting the public’s health and safety.
During the Great Recession, as state and federal governments reduced their investments in our communities to address budget shortfalls, Colorado’s state employees took furlough days, pay cuts, and reductions in benefits to ensure a healthy recovery for our state. But even before then, the Taxpayers Bill Of Right (TABOR) put a chokehold on Colorado’s state budget and its ability to invest in public services. As a result we saw increasing job loss, decreasing access to essential services, and dramatically reduced investment in public services.
Now, the pandemic has shown us that we’re all in this together — no matter who we are, where we’re from, or the color of our skin — whether it’s for day-to-day needs like groceries, critical benefits like unemployment, or lifesaving services like emergency response and health care.
It’s time for the federal government to lead by ensuring money flows to our communities and we look forward to working with the Biden administration to get this done. That means investing in good jobs and the people providing essential services, ensuring enhanced unemployment assistance for families, and providing funding for state and local governments so our communities have the services families need to get through the next few critical months.”
Colorado WINS is the union representing more than 28,000 classified state employees who work to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state and provide essential services to more than 5.6 million Coloradans.