Colorado Capitol Report

Ballot Initiative Wrap-Up: Protect Colorado’s Business Climate!

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State Policy News

Ballot Initiative Wrap-Up: Protect Colorado’s Business Climate!

The CACI Board of Directors has taken positions on three ballot initiatives, two of which would harm the state’s economic climate and one that would improve it.  CACI urges its members to vote against Amendment 69, known as ColoradoCares, and Amendment 70, which would hike the state minimum wage.  To make it more difficult to place such anti-business initiatives on the ballot in the future, CACI urges its members to vote for Amendment 71.

Amendment 69–Oppose

Amendment 69, which was Initiative 20, would create a quasi-public, single-payer, health-care system that would impose a $25 billion tax on employers, workers and taxpayers.  Here’s how the proposal is described in the Legislative Council’s fiscal analysis for its Blue Book:

Summary of Measure

Amendment 69, if enacted by voters, establishes ColoradoCare as a new political

subdivision of the state to operate as a statewide system to finance health care services for Colorado residents. The measure establishes a board of trustees, initially appointed and then elected, to govern and oversee the operations of ColoradoCare. The board of trustees is required to seek federal waivers necessary to implement ColoradoCare and ColoradoCare operations may be terminated by the board if the federal government does not grant approval sufficient for its fiscally sound operation. Amendment 69 creates new taxes on most sources of income, redirects existing state and federal health funding to pay for the services and administration of ColoradoCare, and exempts ColoradoCare from constitutional limits on revenue. If fully implemented, ColoradoCare will pay for covered health care services for Coloradans who do not have other forms of health coverage and will provide supplemental coverage to persons who have other coverage.

This extraordinary ballot measure would eliminate private health-insurance and replace it with a state governmental, universal health-care system called ColoradoCare that also would swallow up much of four major, existing state-and-federal health programs.

The single-payer system set forth in Amendment 69 would be enshrined in the Colorado Constitution as a 12-page amendment (Article XXX) to the Colorado Constitution.  If Amendment 69 is approved by the voters, the political odds of it ever being changed by voters are slim to none, and the state will be left to deal with the enormous consequences—both intended and unintended—for years to come.

The ColoradoCare Yes campaign intends to make Colorado the first state in the country to adopt such a radical, wide-ranging health-insurance scheme.

Amendment 69 would undoubtedly be the most massive, expensive change in Colorado State Government in recent decades, and the effects on the Colorado economy would be huge.  It would largely eliminate the entire private-sector health-insurance industry while creating a massive ColoradoCare bureaucracy.

At this point, no one has a “guesstimate“ of how much it would cost to shut down the private-sector health-insurance industry, laying off tens of thousands of workers, many of whom would then collect unemployment benefits, thus draining down the Unemployment Trust Fund.

Employers would be forced to terminate contracts with health insurers as well as to adopt a new system for paying premium taxes to ColoradoCare.  The cost to employers of transitioning from the current system to the ColoradoCare system would undoubtedly be in the tens of millions of dollars–but no one has an idea yet of the cost.

Once fully implemented, ColoradoCare would impose a “premium tax” on employers (6.67 percent of total payroll income) and workers (3.33 percent of total payroll income).  Wages, salaries and tips would be subject to the tax.

Anyone who has non-payroll income would be taxed at 10 percent.  Such income includes, according to the Legislative Council:

  • business proprietors’ income, including farm proprietors’ income;
  • capital gains; and
  • pensions, annuities, and Social Security benefits, to the extent taxed by the state under current law.

Taxes would not be collected on total personal income greater than $350,000 for a single-income filer or $450,000 for joint-income filers.  These two limits would be indexed to calendar year 2017 but then adjusted annually according to the Denver-Boulder-Greeley Consumer Price Index (CPI) in later years.

Of particular concern to CACI would be the impact of Amendment 69 on Pinnacol Assurance, a CACI member.  Here’s what the Legislative Council’s fiscal analysis says about Pinnacol Assurance:

Pinnacol Assurance. Pinnacol Assurance is the state-chartered insurer-of-last-resort for workers’ compensation insurance and provides coverage to over half of Colorado employers. Under Amendment 69, Pinnacol Assurance will no longer be required to provide medical coverage through its workers’ compensation policies. This will reduce its obligations to pay for workers’ medical claims. The indemnity portion of workers’ compensation policies, which pays for lost wages and other benefits, will remain under the purview of Pinnacol Assurance.

Amendment 69 is opposed by Coloradans for Coloradans, an issue committee whose co-chairs include Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter.  The organization is backed by a coalition of business organizations, public officials, and community and civic leaders.

CACI urges its members to contribute to Coloradans for Coloradans. Contributions can be mailed to:

Coloradans for Coloradans
1660 Lincoln Street
Suite 1800
Denver CO 80624

Contribution can also be wired electronically to Coloradans for Coloradans.  CACI members who have questions about contributing to Coloradans for Coloradans should email Katie Behnke or call her at 303.807.4583.

Coloradans for Coloradans is an issue committee, #20165030100, registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.  An issue committee may receive unlimited contributions from an individual, a corporation or a non-corporate business entity.

For more information, read:

Blue Book, Colorado Legislative Council.

Blue Book Fiscal Impact, Colorado Legislative Council.

ColoradoCares Long-Term Budget Shortfall Could Be in the Billions, Independent Study Finds,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, August 11th.

Q&A: Amendment 69’s Impact on Employers and Workers Would Be Huge,” The CACI Colorado Capitol Report, June 10th.

Amendment 70—Oppose

Amendment 70, which was Initiative 101, is a constitutional amendment initiative that would raise the state minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020.

The current minimum wage is $8.31, which is the result of a 2006 ballot initiative approved by the voters.  The Federal minimum wage is $7.25.

The named backers of the measure, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, comprise some 35 organizations that include labor unions, liberal/progressive think tanks and social/economic-justice organizations.

Despite the name of the issue committee, however, much of the $3.1 million of funding for Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, as of September 28th, has come from out-of-state liberal/progressive organizations and unions.  The reason, obviously, is that the Democratic Party at both national and state levels has enthusiastically embraced increases in state, local and Federal minimum wages not just as a policy objective but, particularly in Colorado, as a strategy to increase Democrat voter turnout.

CACI opposes the measure for several reasons, including the following:

  • An increase in the state minimum wage should be statutory in nature and debated by the legislature and not enshrined in the State Constitution, where it will be virtually impossible to change;
  • The measure interferes with the “private right to contract” between a worker and an employer; and
  • Important sectors, such as hospitality, will likely be adversely affected if companies, especially small ones with thin profit margins, are not able to pass the increased labor costs on to their customers.

The Colorado Restaurant Association, a CACI member, points out:

Small and family-owned businesses – which make up more than 97 percent of Colorado’s employers – would be hit the hardest by this pay hike, forced to cut jobs, reduce hours, and lay off employeesIn fact, if passed, this constitutional amendment would kill more than 90,000 jobs within the next six years.

Not only would this amendment hurt the very people it is meant to help, this extreme, one-size-fits-all approach will:

  • Eliminate entry level jobs
  • Hit rural communities disproportionately hard
  • Position Colorado as a non-competitive state

The issue committee that has been formed to oppose Initiative 101 is called Keep Colorado Working.  The committee’s registration number with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is 20165031488.

An issue committee can accept unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations and non-corporate business entities.  Contributions to Keep Colorado Working will be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office and, therefore, will become public.

CACI members should send contributions to:

Keep Colorado Working
2318 Curtis Street
Denver CO 80201

CACI members with questions about contributions to Keep Colorado Working should call Katie Behnke or Austin Metsch at the Starboard Group at 720.524.7332

CACI members with questions about the minimum-wage issue should contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

For more information on Amendment 70, read:

Minimum Wage Hike Qualifies for November, Ballot,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, August 11th.

Blue Book, Colorado Legislative Council.

Amendment 71—Support

Amendment 71, which was Initiative 96, would make it harder to amend the Colorado Constitution through citizen initiatives.

The proposal has two main features:

  • Most significantly, the measure would require that a “petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district” for the measure to be placed on the ballot.  Colorado has 35 state senate districts.
  • The percentage of votes needed to pass a constitutional amendment would be increased from a majority to at least 55 percent; however, a proposed constitutional amendment that “only repeals, in whole or in part, any provision of the constitution” would still need only a majority vote to be enacted by the voters.

The proposal would not change the provisions governing initiated statutory amendments in terms of the requirements for signature gathering or the requirement of a simple majority vote at a General Election.

In addition, there would be no change in the ability of the General Assembly to propose to the voters any amendment to the Colorado Constitution upon a vote of two-thirds in the House of Representatives (44 of 65) and the State Senate (24 of 35).

The group advocating the measure is Raise the Bar.

Among the comments made by CACI members about this issue are the following:

  • The business community has to fight a number of anti-business ballot measures at virtually every General Election, with a price tag running into the many millions of dollars.
  • Once an amendment has been placed in the Constitution, experience over the past 30 years to 40 years shows that it is virtually impossible to change it.
  • Many of the issues concerning proposed constitutional amendments should properly be addressed by the Legislature in statutory form.

For more information on Amendment 71, read:

CACI Supports Initiative to Tighten Requirements for Constitutional Ballot Initiatives,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, August 19th.

Blue Book, Colorado Legislative Council.

Blue Book Fiscal Impact, Colorado Legislative Council.

CACI Holds Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Brown Palace

CACI President, Chuck Berry, thanks Travis Webb for serving as CACI Board Chair for 20105-2016. photo by Evan Semón

CACI President, Chuck Berry, thanks Travis Webb for serving as 2015-2016 CACI Board Chair. photo by Evan Semón

Jon Anderson, CACI Chair Elect, Travis Webb, Keith Pearson, CACI Board Chair and Chuck Berry. (photo by Evan Semón)

Jon Anderson, CACI Chair Elect, Travis Webb, Keith Pearson, CACI Board Chair and Chuck Berry. (photo by Evan Semón)

Travis Webb, CACI's Immediate Past Board Chair passes Gavel to Keith Pearson, CACI's newly elected Board Chair. (photo by Evan Semón)

Travis Webb, CACI’s Immediate Past Board Chair passes Gavel to Keith Pearson, CACI’s recently elected Board Chair.
(photo by Evan Semón)

Floyd Ciruli, Ciruli Associates - Polling and Consulting and Jon Anderson, Holland Hart (photo by Evan Semón(

Floyd Ciruli, Ciruli Associates – Polling and Consulting and Jon Anderson, Holland Hart
(photo by Evan Semón)

Congressman Coffman address the audience at CACI's annual meeting luncheon.

Congressman Coffman address the audience at CACI’s annual meeting luncheon.


2016 EXECs Advocacy Program Wrap up!




The CACI EXECs Advocacy Program wrapped up its third year with a one-of-a kind graduation event at CACI Partner Footers Catering on October 5th. Owners Anthony and April Lambatos hosted the group their amazing facility while sharing some of their chef secrets about their award winning appetizers. Thank you to Southwest Airlines, our In-Kind Sponsor for their gracious donation of airline tickets. What a great way to end the year.


Congratulations, Class of 2016!

NAME                                COMPANY                          

 Bryan Bernier                  PIIAC
William Bishop                HealthONE /HCA
Treasa Burke                    Faegre Baker Daniels
Bruce Clark                      Charles Schwab
Jeff Erker                          FCI Constructors
Jared Geiger                    Atmos Energy
Jimmy Gulick                   BKD CPAs & Advisors
Abby Heider                    Footers Catering
Sheri Kaiser                     Kaiser Permanente
Patrick Kelly                    Change Point Consulting
Matt King                         Newmont Mining
Leah Lindahl                    Healthcare Distribution Alliance
Josh Liss                           IREA
Ron Long                          Weatherford International
Mark Mansuetti              Climax Molybdenum
Josh Marlow                    McLane Company
Sarah May                        Lockheed Martin
Richard Murray               Polsinelli PC
Wes Parham                    Xcel Energy
Christopher Smith          Pure Predictive
Laura Stephens               McLane Company
Jared Stohner                  Newmont Mining
Jodi Sullivan                     Duff & Phelps
Richard Toya                    Lockheed Martin
Judy Vorndran                 TaxOps
Kami Welch                      Arvada Chamber of Commerce
Carly West                        Black Hills Energy
Russ White                       RubinBrown

CACI members interested in participating in the 2016-2017 EXECs Advocacy Program can apply online here. Please contact Lalitha Christian, EXECs Program Manager at 303.866.9635 for if you have any questions.