Senate Bill 188 — $1 billion tax increase for paid leave

  • Senate Bill 188 is a $1 billion tax increase that sets one-size-fits-all rules for paid time off of work, by law, and imposes them on all employers and employees regardless of an employer’s size, location, industry or the specific needs of a given workplace.

    • All workers will be forced to pick up the tab regardless of how much or little leave each takes individually.

    • Last week, the Senate Finance Committee shifted more of the burden for SB188—60 percent of the premiums—onto employees. Hardworking Coloradans may have to pay $600 million a year from their own paychecks for this program.

  • SB188 has no OPT OUT for employers that already provide a paid-leave benefit to their employees—even if the current benefit is preferred by employees and exceeds SB188’s proposal.

  • Employers will have to administer the program — on their own dime.

  • Governments and their workers get a “break,” paying less for the same benefits.

  • Concerns are growing over SB188:

House Bill 1210 — Spiraling minimum-wage hikes

  • Allows local governments to ignore the will of the people who only recently voted for a statewide minimum wage in favor of an even higher minimum wage – even on small, struggling Main Street shops.

  • Would create havoc, leading to a patchwork of different minimum wages in metro areas like Denver, pitting different communities against one another.

  • Creates discrepancies for employers.  Those employers in locales that hike the mandated minimum wage and can’t afford it, would be forced to cut jobs — while those in locales that don’t raise the minimum wage would find it harder to hire and fill needed positions.

  • And the impacts will get worse. Click here to learn more about the chaos that HB1210 would create across Colorado.

 

Senate Bill 85 — “Equal pay” and endless litigation

  • This measure would assure a steady new stream of clients for plaintiffs’ attorneys — carving out wide-ranging new grounds for employees to sue over alleged pay discrimination based on gender.

  • The bill actually removes state authority to enforce wage-discrimination complaints — in favor of more costly and crippling litigation against employers.

  • As introduced, the measure would let employees use lawsuits as their first resort, dragging employers to court over pay disparities even if they can be explained by gender-neutral factors like a job’s location — resort town vs. small town — or the need to create incentives for a hard-to-fill night shift.

House Bill 1289 — A bust for business, a bottleneck for consumers

  •  Turns the Colorado Consumer Protection Act upside down, opening the door to dramatically more claims demanding substantially higher payouts.

  • Concocts a supposed solution for a problem that doesn’t exist — seeking to “fix” a system that already equitably balances the interests of consumers as well as providers of goods and services.

  • Sets up a web of trip wires that will hamstring Colorado’s fair, sensible and efficient arbitration system designed to mediate disputes between consumers and businesses without costly court actions.

  • Instead shifts more claims into endless, grueling litigationadding to backlogged dockets in Colorado’s congested courts and thwarting consumers who want quick resolution.

  • Will cause an immediate and drastic surge in the number of complaints filed and in the money paid out — forcing up insurance premiums for many different kinds of policies.

  • Subverts the long-accepted standards for negligence by raising penalties and lowering the bar for claims that wouldn’t even have to demonstrate negligence was knowing — just the open-ended catch-all of “reckless.”

  • A lose-lose for businesses and consumers alike:

    • The businesses that create Colorado’s jobs are set up for a fall, spending a lot more time in court and losing a lot more money in court settlements and on legal representation …

    • And consumers with legitimate claims — many of which could be resolved quickly and to their satisfaction using an arbitrator — will be forced into a spiral of litigation that could take years to resolve.

  • Encourages a torrent of new kinds of claims for broad and undefined conduct.

  • Escalates penalties — currently in balance — way out of proportion to the infraction in negligence claims, including for classes of consumers such as seniors.

    • As result, service provider could have to pay out business-busting claims for millions or even billions of dollars for simple negligence that wasn’t even knowing.

  • Introduces an array of escape clauses and vague standards letting trial lawyers derail arbitration in solving disputes — and scrap common-sense arbitration agreements already in place.

  • Has dangerous potential to overturn carefully considered compromises on consumer-protections laws that could upend entire industries, like homebuilding, throwing open the gate to a wave of litigation that jeopardizes the construction of badly needed affordable housing.

  • A jackpot payday for trial lawyers — the only beneficiaries of this reckless legislation — who will reap huge new payouts at the expense of goods and services providers as well as the majority of consumers.

 

Senate Bill 181 — Shutting down oil and gas development.

  • Shifts the final say over oil and gas exploration and production away from the state agency that historically has overseen the industry — and has carefully balanced energy needs with local and environmental concerns.

  • Let’s local governments run roughshod over long-standing state rules on oil and gas development, even banning drilling — as Adams County did with a moratorium declared after the bill was introduced.

  • Oil and gas drilling could be shut down across much of the state by the legislation, and the industry could leave for good.

    • Oil and gas, according to a CU report, accounts for 89,000 jobs in Colorado, including 30,000 direct employees and another 51,000 jobs created by earnings for the industry.

  • Rural communities that depend on oil and gas for jobs and tax revenue would be devastated.

  • Local government and rural school districts would take a big hit for the loss of revenue.

    • Oil and Gas contributed more than $457 million in property taxes in 2017 for education and local governments.

  • The bill ignores a statewide vote by Coloradans on last November’s ballot against another measure that sought to shut down oil and gas exploration.

  • A broad swath of Colorado political, business and opinion leaders have denounced the bill because of its likely impact on the state’s economy. Past and present elected officials including former Colorado U.S. Sen. and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, have criticized the measure.