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DENVER – The Colorado Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors today voted to oppose Proposition 118. If passed by voters this November, it would create a new $1.3 billion state-run family and medical leave insurance program that would be managed by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).
“Make no mistake, this ballot initiative imposes a payroll tax increase on all Colorado families and businesses during an unprecedented economic recession,” said Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal relations for the Colorado Chamber. “We should be focused on keeping businesses open and Coloradans employed – not creating new social programs and mandates in the middle of a global pandemic. Colorado can’t afford a new billion-dollar bureaucracy.”
Initiative 283 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. Lawmakers created a task force in 2019 to study the issue and the Colorado Chamber played a key role.