Colorado Capitol Report

Colorado Taxpayers Expected to See Tax Refund, Reduced Income Tax Rate

Colorado Taxpayers Expected to See Tax Refund, Reduced Income Tax Rate

The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting released its quarterly economic forecast this week, which confirms that Colorado taxpayers will see a tax refund and reduced state income tax rate.

The state collected $463.6 million over the TABOR cap in in Fiscal Year 2020-21. The state income tax rate will be reduced to 4.5%, down from 4.55%, and the surplus of the refund is expected to be approximately $70 per person, according to the governor’s office.

The economic forecast indicates some positive signs of recovery, but also reflected the continued challenges COVID-19 poses on the state’s economy. For example, Colorado’s unemployment rate has decreased, but still remains higher than the national average. The tourism and leisure industries are also seeing a slow recovery of job growth. The report also pointed to continued supply chain disruptions, which are straining the Colorado economy.

“Colorado’s economic recovery from the pandemic recession continues at a rapid pace, although headwinds exist,” the report states. “Labor market inefficiencies due to skill mismatches and job preferences are limiting improvements in the job market. Additionally, the Delta variant has reduced consumer confidence and constrained global supply chains, driving up expectations for higher inflation in the short- and medium-term.”

“We are seeing a strong recovery in 2021 as more Coloradans get vaccinated and return to work but our economic success is tied to our public health so we continue to encourage Coloradans to get vaccinated to protect themselves, our economy, and jobs,” the governor said in a statement.

Colorado Option Rulemaking Well Under Way

The Colorado Option rulemaking stakeholder meetings started in late July.  Today marked the fourth of six  meetings hosted by the Division of Insurance (DOI) staff, which are intended to gain public feedback on the plan design and cost sharing. Today the DOI announced the Colorado Option Director today, Kyla Hoskins. She has a background in program implementation and consumer advocacy, and will oversee the process under DOI and Commissioner Conway.

In addition to the announcement of the Colorado Option Director, the staff rolled out the first draft of the standardized plan options. The standardized plan options will be tiered the same as the Exchange program:  Gold, Silver and Bronze plans, and the proposals can be viewed here. This was the first of two meetings to review the proposed standardized plans. The next meeting will be Friday October 8th, and the final Colorado Option standardized plan will be shared on Thursday November 4th.

If you would like to listen to any of the previous meetings or access the presentations, you can find them here.  Please email Katie Wolf, [email protected] with any questions.

Implementation Steps Begin on State-run Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program

The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment has begun the process of implementing the State-run Family & Medical Leave Insurance Program which was created through a ballot initiative and approved by voters during the November 2020 General Election. Members of the Colorado General Assembly had attempted to pass legislation creating the program during the prior 6 legislative sessions, but the legislation was defeated.  The Department has hired a new Division Director, Tracy Marshall, who will oversee the Program and initial stages of implementation include the following:

  • Technology build-out;
  • Rulemaking;
  • Staffing;
  • Communications.

The Department is actively recruiting FTE’s to staff the program and has launched a public facing website: to navigate details regarding the program.  Staff is also working on proposed rules and is finalizing the premium rules. The rulemaking hearing on the premium rules will be held on November 3rd.  The next set of rules they will tackle will be the local government rules/opt-in language and the rules on private plans including employer exemptions.

Lawsuit Pending…There has also been a lawsuit filed against CDLE regarding the constitutionality of the program and a copy of the Complaint can be viewed here. 

Please feel free to contact Loren Furman at [email protected] with any questions regarding this process.

Gunnison Business Leaders Share Concerns, Priorities with Colorado Chamber of Commerce

Kerry & Danny Lefebvre, owners of Mario’s Pizza & Pasta and The Dive restaurants in Gunnison, stand inside the working kitchen of a permanently-installed food truck. While they were in the processes of planning their new restaurant concept, they discovered that the food truck would require only a third of the capital needed for a full commercial kitchen, and it came with the bonus of creating a colorful focal point that sets the tone for a fun, casual vibe.

The Colorado Chamber was invited by the Gunnison Chamber of Commerce to meet with members of the business community in south-central Colorado to discuss business priorities and concerns with the Chamber.

This mountain community with access to world class ski resorts, and anchored by Western Colorado University boasts a diverse, thriving small business community that includes hospitality, manufacturing, outdoor recreation, and even award-winning wine-makers. However, in a post-Covid world, businesses share concerns that are familiar for many companies across Colorado, including lack of workers to meet demand, supply chain disruptions and impending housing shortages. Business leaders expressed frustration and confusion among both workers and employers surrounding the roll-out of Colorado’s paid family and medical leave program, our complicated sales and use tax system, and rules concerning contract workers versus full-time employees—all issues that the Chamber is proactively engaged, and for which the Chamber advocates for the best outcomes on behalf of business.

Governor Polis Declares October as Colorado Manufacturing Month

The Colorado Chamber secured a proclamation from the Governor’s Office this week declaring the month of October as Colorado Manufacturing Month, which coincides with National Manufacturing Day on October 1, 2021.

Colorado’s manufacturing community is hosting several events throughout the month to empower manufacturers to come together and address their collective challenges so they can help our communities and future generations to thrive.

The proclamation can be viewed here.