Colorado Concern 

March 30, 2015

The Week in Review

 

Tamra Ward

Each week we provide you with an update on issues under consideration at the State Capitol that are priority items for Colorado Concern.  Many other issues of importance and interest to the business community are being debated, too, and this week we are providing you a synopsis of a number of  these proposals and where they stand as we enter the last six weeks of the 2015 legislative session.

 

Thank you to our team at Nexus Policy Group for the highlights below:

 

Much work remains to be done before final adjournment on May 6, including the passing of the Long Appropriations Bill and the School Finance Act, always the two biggest bills of the year.  In addition, decisions must be made on which bills requiring appropriations of new money or cuts in taxes can be funded.  Among the most significant decisions to be reached is whether to continue the hospital provider fee as an enterprise, which would free up substantial spending authority for the General Assembly.  Enterprises, defined as state-owned businesses that derive less than 10 percent of their money from state or local government revenues, are exempted from the spending limit calculations of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

 

MINIMUM WAGE DEBATED

Last week two pieces of legislation addressing the subject of the minimum wage were introduced in the House of Representatives and assigned to the State Affairs Committee.  Monday afternoon a hearing was held in the Old Supreme Court Chambers on HB 1300 and House Concurrent Resolution 1001.  HB 1300 by Representatives Melton and Moreno would permit cities and towns to set their own minimum wages for people employed within their boundaries.  HCR 1001 would raise the state minimum wage in steps from the current $8.23 per hour to $12.50 per hour in 2020.  The bills revived an old debate between business and labor about the wisdom of minimum wages.  Business says that minimum wage laws eliminate employment opportunities for low skill, or inexperienced workers; labor says that minimum wage increases have no effect on employment or job creation.  Little was resolved after an extended debate Monday.  Both measures passed the committee on party line votes and were sent to the floor for debate by the full House.  Although they have almost no chance of passing, the measures give Democrats an opportunity to force recorded votes against the minimum wage by Republicans.

 

BUDGET BILL COMPLETED

The Long Appropriations bill was introduced Friday, March 27, four days later than scheduled.  The final printed bill is striking in what it does not include.  The bill proposes an increase of $184 million for Medicaid, $126 million to pay for the senior homestead exemption, $117 million for TABOR refunds to taxpayers and $100 million to higher education, among other things.  What is remarkable is the absence of substantial money for public education to buy down the negative factor.  From 2009, the public schools have experienced substantial reductions in basic per pupil revenue for instruction.  The Governor proposed a substantial increase, at least $100 million, last fall.  Yet, the failure of the General Assembly to come up with a plan to increase spending authority by reducing TABOR paybacks or making an enterprise of the hospital fee have limited the ability of the Joint Budget Committee to increase spending.  The Long Bill will trigger a larger debate about the resources that the state has and how to increase them.

 

EDUCATION TAX CREDITS

Tuesday saw an extended debate on SB 45 by Senator Lundberg on the floor of the Senate, the third day on which the controversial proposal to provide tax credits to people who home school children or send children to private school was debated.  Private school choice is widely supported by Republicans but generally opposed by Democrats.  The debate ranged across a variety of education-related subjects, including discrimination, the fiscal impact of credits and separation of church and state.  The bill passed the Senate Wednesday but faces much higher hurdles in the House.

 

If you have questions about any of the measures above, please do not hesitate to contact me at tamra@coloradoconcern.com.

 

Warmly,

Tamra  

Tamra

Colorado Concern Legislative Tracking

 

Click here to find out what legislation Colorado Concern is tracking. The report includes links to bill text, sponsors, Colorado Concern's positions, bill status, and additional notes.

 

Click here to download the Colorado Concern At a Glance Status Sheet for quick tracking of Colorado Concern's bills of interest.

Colorado Concern Upcoming Events
 

Below is information on upcoming Colorado Concern events.  

Click here for more information or to register to attend events.

 

Tuesday, April 7: Colorado Concern Membership Networking Lunch Co-Hosted by David McReynolds and Blair Richardson, featuring guest speaker Fiona Arnold, Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Colorado Concern, 140 East 19th Avenue, Suite 400

 

Thursday, May 14: Colorado Concern Membership Networking Lunch and State Legislative Session Wrap-Up Co-Hosted by Barry Hirschfeld and John Ikard

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Colorado Concern, 140 East 19th Avenue, Suite 400

Colorado Concern in the News 

Colorado Concern News Clips

 

Budgets

Colorado's $25 billion budget bill to debut after months of negotiations

Denver Post: March 24

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

Just $10 million remains for Colorado's unpassed bills in this year's budget

Denver Business Journal: March 28

 

Development/Real Estate

Denver Business Journal: March 23

 

As Denver grows up, up, up, more neighborhoods grapple with density

Denver Post: March 23

 

House speaker wants construction-defects bill amended

Denver Business Journal: March 24

 

Denver buyers up their game to be last bidder standing in real estate deals

Denver Post: March 25

 

Online service matching tenants with office space launches in Denver

Denver Business Journal: March 27

 

Lipsher: Developers in Colorado's mountain towns up to old tricks

The Denver Post: March 29

 

Economy/Economic Development

Denver Post: March 26

 

CPR: March 26

 

Colorado adds 12,200 jobs; jobless rate unchanged at 4.2%

Denver Business Journal: March 27

 

Education

Denver Post: March 23

 

Percent of Colorado kids in poverty down for first time since 2008

Denver Post: March 23

 

Boulder Daily Camera: March 23

 

CSU System sells $239M in bonds for new football stadium

BizWest Media: March 24

 

An overachiever's perspective on standardized testing

Denver Post: March 24

 

Bill in legislature would give tax credits for private schools and home-schooling

FOX31 Denver: March 25

 

Denver Business Journal: March 26

 

Teachers' rally shines light on Colorado legislature's work toward education consensus

Colorado Springs Gazette: March 27

 

Standardized testing protestors' rally cry at the Capitol: "More than a score."

The Colorado Independent: March 27

 

Denver Post: March 27

 

Denver Post: March 27

 

Denver Post: March 27

 

Elections

Denver Business Journal: March 24

 

Denver Post: March 25

 

Nearly 20000 votes cast in city election

Colorado Springs Independent: March 26

 

Bill would require fiscal impact info on citizen initiatives

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: March 26

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

Denver City Council District 3: Growth, redevelopment worries longtime residents

Denver Post: March 27

 

Imbroglio embroils election bill

The Colorado Statesman: March 27

 

Energy

Denver Business Journal: March 20

 

Denver Post: March 23

 

Denver Post: March 23

 

Denver Post: March 24

 

Wind power bounces back in 2014, Boulder research firm finds

Denver Business Journal: March 27

 

General Business

Capitol hosts Colorado Aerospace Day

9NEWS: March 24

 

Denver's 2015 biennial will sprawl with four-days of art, talk, fetes

Denver Post: March 24

 

Federal regulators proposes new rules for "payday" loans

Denver Post: March 27

 

Denver Post: March 27

 

Health Care

Denver Business Journal: March 20

 

Denver Business Journal: March 24

 

Colorado health insurance exchange weak in accounting, auditors report

Denver Post: March 24

 

CPR: March 24

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

House passes Medicare bill, fate uncertain in Senate

Denver Post: March 27

 

Labor/Employment

Denver Post: March 20

 

Battle looms at State Capitol over raising minimum wage

FOX31 Denver: March 23

 

Denver Business Journal: March 23

 

Minimum Wage Debate Begins At Colorado Legislature, Workers Hold Rally

CBS Local: March 24

 

Denver Business Journal: March 25

 

Bill to study disparities in minority contracting is reintroduced in Colorado Legislature

Denver Business Journal: March 26

 

Legislature declines to extend Colorado's parental-leave law

Denver Business Journal: March 26

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

Denver Business Journal: March 26

 

Denver Post: March 27

 

Wage Battle Begins

The Colorado Statesman: March 27

 

Marijuana

Colorado Statesman: March 23

 

Denver City Council approves 36-plant limit for collective pot grows

Denver Post: March 24

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

Colorado moving to standardize pot-testing labs

The Denver Post: March 27

 

Tax

Where does Colorado rank for tax burden?

Denver Business Journal: March 23

 

Telecommunications

Denver Post: March 26

 

Transportation

Complaints against Frontier on the rise as DIA outsourcing finalized

Denver Post: March 20

 

Denver Post: March 23

 

Denver Business Journal: March 24

 

Denver Post: March 25

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

Denver Post: March 26

 

Could Colorado's hospital provider fee be the key to increased road funding?

Denver Business Journal: March 27

 

Colorado Senate panel OKs expanded snow tire requirement

9NEWS: March 27

 

DIA keeps hold (barely) on 5th-busiest ranking

Denver Business Journal: March 27

 

Water

Denver Post: March 23

 

$1 billion water spending plan heads to California governor

Denver Post: March 27

In This Issue

Join us April 7 for our monthly Membership Networking Lunch co-hosted by Blair Richardson and David McReynolds and featuring Fiona Arnold, Executive Director of the CO Office of Eco. Dev't and Int'l Trade.
for details and to register.