Romer: Vote a business-friendly ballot
Vail Valley Partnership focuses on developing and enhancing the economic vitality of Eagle County. We work to be the voice for business and to build a community where businesses can thrive.
VVP’s legislative strategy seeks to support policy proposals that fit this mission and oppose measures that detract from building a business-friendly environment. Ballot measures can benefit the community or they can create additional regulations, costs, and burdens that make doing business here even harder.
It is within this context that the Board of Governors of the Vail Valley Partnership has taken the following positions on statewide ballot issues:
Amendment B — Modify property taxes
This was referred by the state legislature in a bipartisan vote. Numerous rural Republicans were key sponsors.
The Partnership board has historically supported removing all formulas from our constitution. Due to growth in our residential market, the Gallagher formula has forced an imbalance in property taxes in Colorado, causing a 300%+ increase in the shift of the property tax burden from homeowners to business owners. This has resulted in public safety, transportation and education budget crises for local communities across our state, especially in rural Colorado. Repealing Gallagher stops this continual shifting of taxes to the commercial properties in our state, providing more predictability for businesses. Vote YES.
Proposition 116 — State income tax rate reduction
Colorado’s income tax rate has not been a hurdle in our economic development efforts. Lowering our taxes at a time when we need investment in critical issues such as transportation and higher education is counterproductive. This reduction would force an estimated $150 million per year in budget cuts on top of the significant revenue shortfall we already face. Additionally, the state often turns to businesses to recover revenue for its operations and this would likely result in negative implications for the business community. Vote NO.
Proposition 117 — Voter approval for certain new state enterprises
Fees, when properly identified as fees, can and should be utilized to help fund specific initiatives directly tied to those fees. To be clear, this doesn’t mean everything that someone calls a “fee” meets that criteria. That said, if a proposal clearly qualifies as a fee, we believe voter approval should not be required. Vote NO.
Proposition 118 — Paid family and medical leave insurance program
If passed, this requires employers and employees to pay a 0.9% payroll tax that would be deducted directly from employee wages in order to fund the insurance program. It would create a 200-person department within CDLE which would be managed by a political appointee. The Department would have wide discretion to increase the payroll deduction to as high as 1.2% of wages if program usage is higher than anticipated.
The Colorado General Assembly has consistently rejected similar approaches to paid leave in five recent legislative sessions.
We do not believe a state-run program that mandates a one-size-fits-all approach for small businesses up to large corporations is the answer. This initiative is costly for both employees and employers at a time when many are struggling to keep teams employed, are working to rebuild or even just trying to stay afloat in this economy. Plus, employers are still adjusting to the new federal rules about paid leave that were released shortly after the pandemic hit. This is a blunt instrument when we need a more customized approach. Vote NO.
In the middle of a pandemic and an economic recession, consider how your vote will impact Colorado’s path to economic recovery.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.
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