The Colorado Half in Ten Campaign supported the successful Economic Recovery Forum Tour that was held throughout the entire state this year. In December, the tour ended with stops in Pueblo and Aurora. These seven statewide forums showcased the positive impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, to low-income families by providing information to hundreds of individuals on business startup, education and training funding, unemployment insurance expansion, green jobs, and tax credits. In Colorado, stimulus money helped create more than 46,000 jobs in our state.
Members of the Colorado Half in Ten Campaign spoke out at the Denver Department of Human Services Welfare Reform Board’s December meeting to express their concerns about child care cuts. As the department is experiencing a budget crisis, they had several options to consider for a vote that would possibly place many children in harm’s way and would increase unemployment due to parents’ inability to pay for the higher cost of services.
While the board approved decreasing child care provider rates, they tabled the option to decrease income eligibility levels to the next meeting and did not approve the option to move teen parents to the wait list. Members of the Colorado Half in Ten Campaign plan to write a letter expressing alternative options that would not have a negative impact on low-income families.
There has also been much discussion and planning around upcoming state legislation. The campaign has plans to support legislation to remove barriers to employment, expand consumer protection, and strengthen child care funding. The campaign plans to oppose legislation that will further delay state rule-making changes that would benefit low-income families.
In the last month, Colorado has been working hard to reach out to the U.S. Congress to ask for their support in tax credits for low-income families, extending the TANF Emergency Fund, and extending unemployment insurance. The coalition has sent letters to the U.S. Congress in hopes of scheduling meetings to discuss our wishes.