NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTION

Citizens of Larimer County will have an extremely complex ballot to consider on November 3. The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce has taken a position on four ballot issues that are critical to our current and future workforce, our quality of life and our economic future.  As well, the Chamber is endorsing two candidates for County Commissioner.

Summary of the Chamber’s Positions

 

The Chamber is recommending a NO vote on the following issues:

Proposition 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Proposition 113 – National Popular Vote

 

The Chamber is recommending a YES vote on the following issues:

Amendment B – Repeal of Property Assessment Rates (Gallagher)

Proposition 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises

 

The Chamber is endorsing these candidates:

Bob McCluskey, District 2, Larimer County Board of Commissioners

Ben Aste, District 3, Larimer County Board of Commissioners

 

Background Information about the Chamber’s Positions

State Issues

Proposition 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program:  VOTE NO

The Chamber supports a reasonable family and medical leave program but opposes Proposition 118. It simply goes too far. Proposition 118 would create a $1.3 billion state-run paid family and medical leave program by mandating a payroll tax on employees and employers.  The program would 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.

The Chamber is recommending a NO vote as it is the wrong time to place additional burdens on business.  The additional costs and risks due to compliance and the expansive terms of the law may disrupt benefits, wages and job opportunities in unpredictable ways. Many of our 1,200 members already provide such leave today, but a one-size-fits-all, huge government program is concerning and will force some businesses to face much higher costs.  As well, several studies question the solvency of this new program which would require further legislative action including the possibility of funding the program from limited general fund dollars.  Colorado’s track record with large programs is troublesome with PERA’s unfunded liability and the empty unemployment insurance trust fund as two examples of good intentions resulting in poor management.

Click Here for additional information and analysis.

 

Proposition 113 – National Popular Vote:  VOTE NO

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

The Chamber is recommending a NO vote as National Popular Vote eliminates Colorado’s relevancy in the Presidential Election, it gives additional power to large, population-rich cities and states on the coasts and disenfranchises Coloradoans by focusing all attention on the major urban centers along the coasts.  This reduced relevancy could ultimately reduce Colorado’s ability to garner federal funding.

Click Here for additional information and analysis.

 

Amendment B – Repeal of Property Assessment Rates (Gallagher):  VOTE YES

Amendment B would repeal 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 would freeze the residential assessment rate at 7.15% and most non-residential rates at 29%.

The Gallagher Amendment is outdated and full of unintended consequences. If the Gallagher Amendment is not repealed, owners of high-end homes in Colorado’s wealthiest neighborhoods would get a tax cut next year, while small businesses and farmers would pay a larger share of property taxes. The Gallagher Amendment causes small businesses to be taxed at a rate four times higher than residential property owners, and penalizes businesses as well as rural and low-income communities that lack a significant commercial tax base.

This increase in taxes threaten our business’ bottom line and the retention of employees while collectively impeding Colorado’s economic recovery and squeezing vital public services—including funding for schools, police and fire services. Declines in the residential assessment rate caused by the Gallagher Amendment have resulted in significant reductions in vital services provided by local governments, particularly in rural and low-income communities. Amendment B allows local governments to continue providing services that their communities expect.

Click Here for additional information and analysis.

NFIB: Small Businesses Facing Huge Tax Increase if Amendment B Fails

 

Proposition 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises:  VOTE YES

Proposition 117 would require 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.

According to the Common Sense Institute, since the adoption of TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights), voters have approved only 3 statewide tax revenue increases.  In comparison, enterprise fees have grown four times faster than general fund revenue.  For every $1 increase in general fund revenue per Coloradoan, enterprise fees have gone up $4.22.

Proposition 117 strengthens the role of citizens in determining the proper size and scope of government. The state government uses enterprises to grow its budget without voter approval. Coloradans approved TABOR to require voter consent for tax increases; this measure extends this principle to fees collected by large new enterprises. Fees, like taxes, are paid by everyday Coloradans and businesses, so voters should have a say in their creation

 

Larimer County Commission Races

Support Bob McCluskey and Ben Aste

Larimer County citizens will have the opportunity to elect two candidates to the Board of County Commissioners.  The Chamber is endorsing District 2 candidate Bob McCluskey and District 3 candidate Ben Aste.  All of the candidates for these two offices are earnest in their candidacy; however, Bob and Ben were much more thoughtful in their business perspectives and understanding of the issues that impact business.

All of the announced candidates were asked to complete a Candidate’s Questionnaire and complete an interview with the Election Committee.  The Chamber Board of Directors, in their review of candidates, considered the responses to the Candidate’s Questionnaire and the candidate’s interviews as well as the following traits:  Character/Integrity, Motivated, Balanced, Committed, Electable, Knowledge of Community Issues/Governance, Community Service & Experience and Leadership & Communication Skills.

Copies of the interviews conducted with all the candidates are available HERE As well, questionnaires completed by the candidates are available HERE.

Resources

Larimer County: http://www.larimer.org/

Larimer County Election Information: http://www.larimer.org/clerk/elections/

State of Colorado Election Information: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/main.html?menuheaders=5

State of Colorado Blue Book: http://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/blue_book_english_for_web_2020_1.pdf

 

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.