Colorado Common Cause Urges Senate to Fund Census Outreach in Advance of Committee Vote Today

April 22, 2019

DENVER –Colorado Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization, today urged the state Senate to allocate $6 million for 2020 Census outreach. The funding is necessary to accurately count every Colorado community to ensure the state receives its fair share of federal funds,  which make up a third of the state budget, and is represented fairly in the U.S. House of Representatives. Colorado currently has seven seats. It could gain one more seat based on population growth but only with a complete count of everyone.

Statement from Amanda Gonzalez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause: “The 2020 Census faces too many massive hurdles to its success, making it very likely that we won’t see a complete or accurate count. It’s become evident that too many Americans will either refuse to fill out the census survey or be missed altogether.
“Without a complete count, the state will feel the loss in federal funding, as Colorado depends on more than $13 billion dollars per year that is allocated based on census data. An under-count of Coloradans in the 2020 Census would mean the loss of billions of federal dollars over an entire decade for highways, healthcare, housing assistance, early childhood, school lunches, and other programs that serve our state over the next decade.

“Census data are also used to calculate the number of U.S. Representative seats allotted to each state. Colorado currently has seven seats, and we are predicted to gain an eighth seat in 2020. But that isn’t assured if we do not receive an accurate count from every part of Colorado. Communities that are harder to count, such as rural areas and those with immigrant populations, will lose a much-needed voice in Washington D.C.

“The 2020 count is also crucial to the success of our new independent redistricting commissions that had great bipartisan support from a super-majority of Coloradans who approved them in the 2018 election. Without accurate data, those commissions won’t be able to do their job, just as businesses, public officials, and nonprofits of all stripes won’t be able to either.

“Our Constitution requires the census to count every person who lives here — and getting that count right is critical for our state. The census count in Colorado is in trouble and threatens to harm our state for a whole decade unless leaders act. We urge the Senate to pass HB 1239.”
HB 1239 is up for a vote at 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 22 in SCR 357 in Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.