NewsCovering Colorado


Gov. Polis looking to tackle affordable housing in 2023

Polis sworn in Tuesday for second term as state's 43rd Governor
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 20:19:55-05

DENVER — Governor Jared Polis's second term in office is officially underway.

A ceremony on the west steps of the capitol building in Denver Tuesday included several performances showcasing the Governor's theme "Colorado for All".

Governor Polis along with Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Treasurer Dave Young, and Attorney General Phil Weiser all took their oaths of office for their second terms.

In his inaugural address, Polis largely focused on the promises he followed through on in his first term. Those items became the cornerstone of his campaign for reelection this past November.

Polis highlighted free full-day kindergarten and reducing the cost of prescription drugs as some of the highlights of his first four years. In the fall of this year, Coloradans will also have free preschool, after voters approved an initiative in 2020 to provide funding through taxes on tobacco products.

The governor said he got a lot done in his first term and learned some things he'll take into the next four years.

“I really think in the 2nd two years of my first term, we hit more stride than the first two years,” Polis said in an interview with News5 after his inauguration ceremony, "I think we really have our team together now."

One focus of the upcoming year for Polis as well as the General Assembly is affordable housing. It's an issue Governor Polis said he's heard throughout the state.

"It's in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, but it’s really just as much an issue in Denver and Grand Junction," Polis said.

Affordability was also a key point in the governor's campaign in 2022 and he's looking to propose solutions to increase the amount of housing available in Colorado.

“We really want to lean into removing some of the barriers that exist to creating more housing and this is both for rent or for purchase cause we’ve got to make sure that there’s housing people can actually afford to buy or to rent to live in communities we love right?" Polis said.

According to the most recent report from the Colorado Association of Realtors, the median sales price in Colorado was $570,000 year-to-date as of November 2022.

The increase in home prices is part of the reason Polis said he'll be calling on changes this year.

"If we want Colorado to be more livable and more affordable in 5 years and in 10 years rather than an even harder place to get by the actions that we take under the next few months are going to be critical," Polis said.

Both Republicans and Democrats have outlined affordable housing as a top priority going into this session, but there are a few ideas on how to make it happen.

"One of the things that prevents housing that we need from being built are kind of back door development bans," Polis said, "and onerous zoning requirements, that simply don’t allow the demand to keep up with the supply so we really look forward to working on that to kind of figure out smart planning."

Polis also points to Colorado's desirability as a variable in the equation of the state becoming a more expensive place.

"Colorado’s a great place to live, that’s the good news, bad news is, secret’s out and people want to move here," Polis said.


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