Gov. Polis wants state workers to have 8 weeks paid family leave

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DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis revealed his 2020 budget priorities Friday at the Colorado State Capitol. Among them is a new perk to work for the state: all 30,000 state employees under Polis’ plan would receive 8 weeks fully paid family leave beginning in July 2020.

The perk would be eligible to employees who have a new child, an aging partner or an ill parent.

“We feel like this will be an important tool to attracting and retaining people to work for the state,” Polis told reporters.

The paid family leave policy would cost the state around $10 million.

In addition, state workers would receive a 2% pay increase under Polis’ budget.

Apart from state workers, Polis wants $10 million for Colorado State Parks.

Of that $10 million, $2-3 million would be spent to create a new state park — Fishers Peak — in southern Colorado.

The remaining dollars would be used to upgrade facilities at existing parks. Parks have seen an increase of around four million more visitors since 2008.

“People love living here and part of that is enjoying our wonderful park system,” Polis said.

Other priorities include an increase in school safety funding. Polis’ $3.5 million increase would put the overall school safety budget at around $34 million.

The budget also seeks a $31 million increase in the state’s emergency reserves, $2.3 million for more air pollution inspectors and $550 million for transportation projects.

Polis acknowledged the money would likely be used to fix the backlog of Colorado Department of Transportation projects as opposed to any major new construction effort.

“This is basically the maintenance backlog — you are not talking about major new projects,” Polis said.

Polis’ budget requests will be scrutinized by state lawmakers when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

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