According to a 2003 executive order from then-Gov. Bill Owens, Colorado received about $146.3 million from the 2003 Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, known as Public Law 108-27.
In that executive order, D 021 03, signed Dec. 22, 2003, Owens wrote that he had certified to the U.S. Department of the Treasury that Colorado's "proposed use of the funds would comply with the specified purposes. To date, I have allocated nearly $31 million of these funds for children’s health, education, and important safety projects around the state."
Given the state's improved economic situation, Owens wrote that "it is appropriate to disburse the majority of the remaining funds for essential government services in areas of the budget that address immediate concerns and position the State for improved operations."
Colorado’s total appropriation from this federal fund was $146.3 million. After putting about $31 million into the children's health and safety projects, that left a balance of approximately $115.3 million for the purposes identified in the executive order: “a state must use the funds to provide essential government services or to cover the costs of certain federal unfunded mandates."
The funds were to be expended in the 2003 and 2004 budget years, according to the order.
The executive order listed 17 projects that would receive the bulk of the remaining dollars, ranging from the largest — $60 million to the Department of Transportation, $12.5 million to a state jobs program, $2.17 million to improve the state’s DNA testing program — to the smallest, $50,000 to the Talking Library for the blind and disabled.
The total of those 17 projects — assuming all of the money in the executive order was spent that way — was $111,302,900, which would leave a balance of about $4 million. The payments to Gov. John Hickenlooper's lawyer, Mark Grueskin, came out of that balance.