Business Community Impacted by November Election
Citizens of Larimer County had an extremely complex ballot to consider on November 3. Here are the outcomes of the key issues for the business community.
Amendment B: Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates
Chamber Position: Support
Passed – 57.42% to 42.58%
Amendment B repeals the Gallagher Amendment of 1982, which limits the residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates so that residential property taxes equal 45% of the total share of state property taxes and non-residential property taxes equal 55% of the total share of state property taxes. Amendment B freezes the residential assessment rate at 7.15% and most non-residential rates at 29%.
We are pleased to see Amendment B pass as Gallagher made sense when it passed 38 years ago, but it had long outlived its time. This vote just prevented a $250 million tax increase on small businesses that can ill afford it right now.
Proposition 117: Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises
Chamber Position: Support
Passed – 52.56% to 47.44%
Proposition 117 requires statewide voter approval of new state enterprises if the enterprise’s projected or actual revenue from fees and surcharges is greater than $100 million within its first five years. Revenue collected for enterprises that were created at the same time or that serve substantially the same purpose would be aggregated when calculating the application of this amendment.
There is a game of semantics in Colorado about what’s a tax and what’s a fee. The line in now clearer.
Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
Chamber Position: Oppose
Passed – 57.44% to 42.56%
The Chamber supports a reasonable family and medical leave program but opposed Proposition 118. Proposition 118 will create a $1.3 billion state-run paid family and medical leave program by mandating a payroll tax on employees and employers. The program will include up to 90% wage replacement and cover up to 12 to 16 weeks of leave ranging from bonding with a newborn to personal injury and combine benefits usually offered separately by paid family leave and short-term disability programs. To fund the program, the measure requires employers and employees to each pay a .9% payroll premium, or fee, deducted directly from employee wages. Local government employees are exempt from the program.
While we appreciate the desire to help people, this is one more burden on the back of businesses that are already reeling from the Covid-19 shutdowns. The size and scope of this program is concerning. Many of our 1,200 members already provide such leave today, but a one-size-fits-all, huge government program will force some businesses to face much higher costs. We will be keeping an eye on government and the solvency of this solution.
Proposition 113: Adopt Agreement to Elect U.S. Presidents by National Popular Vote
Chamber Position: Oppose
Passed – 52.16% to 47.84%
Proposition 113 approves a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor joining Colorado with other states as part of an agreement to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote, if enough states enter the agreement. Colorado’s relevance on the national political scene has long benefitted Colorado in the form of federal funding for roads, conservation and outdoor projects, water projects, health care, and education. An undermining of the country’s foundational Electoral College by requiring Colorado to direct its Electoral College votes to the popular vote winner isn’t good for Colorado. If the compact goes into effect, Colorado will give all of its nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate winning the most votes nationwide (often referred to as the national popular vote). Currently, Colorado’s nine electoral votes go to the presidential candidate receiving the most votes in Colorado
Unfortunately, Coloradoans just agreed to give away their power to big states. This decision disenfranchises Coloradoans by focusing all attention on the major urban centers along the coasts and we hope this reduced relevancy doesn’t reduce Colorado’s ability to garner federal funding. We opposed this proposition and hope the passage will not reduce Colorado’s political voice by handing our electoral votes to whichever candidate wins states with larger populations, like California. The compact won’t take effect until enough states sign on to represent 270 electoral votes, which will be a challenge. With Colorado, the compact represents 15 states and 196 electoral votes.
The 2021 Legislative Session is just around the corner, and we are already meeting with lawmakers to advocate on your behalf. Your perspective is important to us. If you have thoughts to share on the upcoming session, please reach out to us.
As well, we hosted, with our area Chambers, the Regional Issues Summit on November 10. It was an opportunity to discuss issues that will be center to the 2021 Legislative Session. If you missed the Summit, keep an eye on our Chamber site where we will post the video from the experience.
Please note: The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide education, information and analysis of local issues and candidates specifically for its members. The opinions expressed in this website are meant to give Chamber members a perspective that advocates for the business community and the city’s overall quality of life, and to give members insight into the potential impacts of local issues and candidates. No Chamber Dues or Funds are being contributed to any of the issue campaigns.