In 2021, Colorado enacted HB 1304 to establish a unified early childhood system by creating the Department of Early Childhood. The new department will house about 20 programs and oversee the launch of the state’s universal preschool program in July 2023. Its goal is to improve the state’s ability to consolidate funding from disparate sources and offer centralized access to resources for parents.
The seed money for this initiative will come from a new tax on vaping products and eventually will triple state cigarette taxes by 2027, HB22-1295. Starting in the 2023-24 fiscal year, the bulk of these revenues – expected to reach almost $300 million by 2027 – will go to early childhood education.