DENVER (KDVR) — State lawmakers have started making major cuts to Colorado’s state budget.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jared Polis already slashed the budget by $228.7 million.
A budget shortfall of $3.4 billion is expected this year. By the next fiscal year, the shortfall is expected to grow to $5.5 billion.
To make matters worse, Colorado is expected to lose $400 million in income tax, mainly due to high unemployment numbers.
Polis says Colorado’s tourism and oil and gas industries are to be among the hardest hit.
The financial situation is changing lawmakers’ priorities.
One bill that would have helped stem bullying and teen suicides has been shelved, at least for now.
It would have held school districts more accountable for enforcing bullying policies.
The father of Jack Padilla had been fighting for the legislation.
Padilla, a 15-year-old Cherry Creek High School student, died by suicide last year.
His father says the fight to help kids in trouble must continue.
“I think it is something we have to have the long view on. If it doesn’t get passed this year, we need to bring it up in 2021 because this issue is not going away,” Rick Padilla said.
State Rep. Lisa Cutter was working to get the bill she called “Jack’s Law” passed.
“It’s devastating,” said Carter.
Another bill that would have gotten social workers into classrooms for students in early grades has also lost steam.
State Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet said many schools were already depending on having those social workers in classrooms.
The governor says the economy will continue to be hit hard until COVID-19 is under control.