In this Capitol Report:
Chamber Family Mourns Loss of Longtime Former Treasurer Marvin Strait (1933-2022)
Marvin Strait, 1933 – 2022
The Colorado Chamber is heartbroken this week over the loss of Marvin Strait, who served the chamber in several capacities including as treasurer to the Board for more than 20 years.
At the Chamber, Marvin was known for his wisdom, wit, and unquestioned dedication to the organization. Through snowstorms and blizzard hazards, he would diligently drive up to Denver from Monument Hill for Chamber meetings – even through discouragement of Chamber staff!
Marvin’s quick sense of humor always kept the Chamber entertained. When asked about retirement during his time as treasurer, he would frequently say “What am I going to do? Sit at home and watch television?”
The Chamber owes much of its success as an organization to Marvin, whose devotion ensured the Chamber’s finances were sound and on track. Chamber leadership and staff frequently relied on him for his deep knowledge and advice on many complex issues, from finance to personnel.
Prior to serving as treasurer, Marvin was the Chair of the Chamber’s Tax Council in the early 1990’s. He also was elected as the Chair of the Board of Directors in 2011, which he served from 2012-13. Marvin was a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee until his retirement in December 2021.
Marvin was widely respected in the community as a business and civic leader. In addition to his decades of service to the Colorado Chamber, he served on other various boards and testified in trials across the country as an expert witness.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either of these two Colorado Springs charities: Early Connections or Peak Education.
What We’re Watching: SB 234
This week, we’re watching the long-awaited SB 234, which will dedicate $600 million to the state’s depleted Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF) and include some additional reforms to the Unemployment Insurance Program. This bill has been a top priority of the Chamber for the past year and comes after months of negotiations between the bill sponsors and business groups led by the Colorado Chamber.
Colorado has the sixth-highest outstanding loan balance in the country, which is why it is so important to start paying back the federal UI loans. Businesses are required to pay a premium into the UITF each year, which is then distributed to employees who file a claim for unemployment. During the pandemic, unemployment claims skyrocketed, causing businesses to pay higher premiums. In addition, fraudulent claims spiked and exacerbated the problem.
Without this relief, UI premiums were expected to drastically increase for Colorado employers starting this year, which would have inhibited economic recovery and growth. This $600 million infusion will prevent significant unemployment premium increases, which will in turn help Colorado workers and local communities across the state.
As part of the compromise between employers and other stakeholders, the bill will also:
- Repeal the requirement that an individual wait at least one week before becoming eligible for UI compensation. This repeal will take effect when the UITF reaches a balance of at least $1 billion
- Require the state to study how to implement a dependent allowance for individuals receiving UI compensation.
- Require the state to award grants to one or more third-party administrators for the purpose of providing recovery benefits to eligible individuals.
- Require employers to provide employees with information about UI compensation upon the employee’s separation from employment.
SB 234 is critical to help Colorado businesses recover from the continued economic challenges of the pandemic – from labor shortages to inflation to supply chain issues. While the bill does not completely pay back all $1 billion in federal debt that Colorado owes, it makes a significant dent in the number and is an important first step. A long-term solution is still needed, and the Chamber will continue to work with key officials to address the outstanding UITF balance.
SB 234 was introduced on Friday of last week and has already passed through the Senate. It is now under consideration by the House Appropriations Committee.