Hickenlooper Left Us Unprepared For A Crisis
After eight years in office, then-Gov. John Hickenlooper left Colorado in a financial lurch when his second term ended in January 2019. The Legislature was awash in cash. The state’s finances seemed stable, but that was an illusion.
State government lacked a secure emergency fund and had some of the lowest budget reserves in the country. Hickenlooper led Colorado’s expensive Medicaid expansion but never convinced the Legislature to budget for a disaster that might jeopardize funding for that and other programs people become dependent upon.
An inevitable crisis came this year in the form of COVID-19, which led Gov. Jared Polis to shut down businesses and forgo the tax revenues they and their employees generate. A state living paycheck to paycheck suddenly lost a massive chunk of its income.