Opinion | Gov. Jared Polis: A missive to mountain towns in Colorado
Colorado mountain and ski towns contribute significantly to what makes Colorado such a magnificent place to call home. My focus, as your Governor, has been and will continue to be on the thousands of hardworking Coloradans who live, work and play here and the opportunities ahead to thrive. I’ve personally seen the these grow and mature since my parents first brought me skiing in Vail in 1981, and now I enjoy visiting with our kids. With that growth has come challenges and opportunities, and I look forward to working with the community to ensure that the valley remains one of the most incredible places to live in the world.
I am focused on protecting the Colorado way of life, lowering the cost of living in our state, and creating opportunity for our kids, families, and seniors. And we are getting the job done. We are taking real action and delivering on what matters most to Eagle County and all of Colorado.
We are setting Colorado kids up for success and saving families nearly $10,000 with free, all-day kindergarten and, starting next fall, free preschool. I was also proud to increase per student funding in public schools by 18%, a historic investment to raise teacher pay and decrease class sizes in the High Country.
We are delivering real cost cuts and working hard to make mountain towns more affordable to live and thrive. We’ve cut prescription costs, eliminated state taxes on Social Security income, and to spur entrepreneurship and jobs growth — made it only $1 to start a new business in Colorado and cut small business taxes. Just this summer, we sent out $750 tax refunds nine months early, and for 2023 and 2024 every property owner will have their tax rates lowered, saving Coloradans $1.1 billion, which especially helps residents of areas like Eagle County who have seen a rapid appreciation in home prices.
Colorado’s wildfire seasons are getting longer and more dangerous, and mountain towns can see the worst of it. We are leading the most expansive wildfire mitigation efforts in Colorado’s history. With a new statewide dispatch center, major upgrades to our aerial firefighting fleet, and millions invested in local fire departments — we are more prepared than ever before to fight active wildfires.
Together, even through the toughest times, we’ve proven that we can keep moving forward by staying focused on doing what is right for Colorado. But make no mistake — there’s hard work ahead.
Coloradans are facing serious pressure from rising costs. In Eagle and surrounding counties, that pressure is felt most in the housing market. We are supporting locally-oriented, innovative affordable housing solutions — giving cities, counties and other local partners the tools they need to build and preserve affordable housing in a way that makes sense for their community.
This work is driving tangible results. For example, next year, with help from the state, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley will break ground on three times as many affordable homes as they have in years past. And because of new legislation, residents of Eagle County are now able to use funds from county lodging taxes to help build more housing.
If I’m fortunate to earn your vote, I will continue to aggressively cut costs for high country Coloradans. I will continue to protect our future from the threat of wildfires and climate change, and I will fight for our clean air, water future, and public lands. I will make sure every Colorado kid has access to a high quality education. I will make Colorado one of the safest states in America. I will ensure that you have the freedom and opportunity to reach your dreams and live the life you want to live.
This is our Colorado, and I’ll never lose sight of how lucky we are to live here and I will never stop fighting for a better future. I make this commitment not just as your Governor, but as a Colorado dad of two kids who are proud to call Colorado their home too.
Thank you for giving me the chance to serve as your Governor, and if you give me the chance, I’ll make sure the best days are ahead for Eagle County and all of Colorado.
Governor Jared Polis started several companies including Proflowers.com and created hundreds of jobs, served on the Colorado Board of Education and in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming Colorado’s 43rd Governor.
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