2020 Ballot Initiatives

Each General Election, the Colorado Chamber Board of Directors may vote to support or oppose certain statewide ballot initiatives up for consideration by Colorado voters.

For the 2020 Election, the following ballot proposals have been voted on by the Colorado Chamber:

Proposition 118: Oppose

Proposition 118 is an iteration of the paid family and medical leave insurance legislation that has failed consistently with in the General Assembly in five previous legislative sessions. After failing to reach a consensus in the 2020 legislature, proponents of the bill took the issue to the statewide ballot. The proposal 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).

The program would require 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 Chamber Board of Directors voted to oppose the measure on August 28, 2020 and urges members of the business community to vote against the proposition.

“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, said in the announcement. “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.”

The Colorado Chamber is also concerned about the fiscal solvency of the program. A recent report by the Common Sense Institute suggests that utilization rates have been underestimated and the program could run out of money almost immediately. Read more about the study here.

Amendment 77: Support

Amendment 77 would amend the Colorado Constitution to allow voters in the three gaming cities to support increase betting limits and to approve new casino games. It would also expand the current use of casino tax revenue for community colleges.

Under current law, after casino regulation expenses are paid, 78% of gaming tax revenue goes towards funding community colleges while the rest is distributed to local jurisdictions. Additional revenue from increased the betting limits authorized by Amendment 77 would increase the level of funding available to community colleges to provide important educational and employment opportunities during the economic downturn.

Community colleges are critical to supporting the private sector and the state economy as a whole. The Colorado Chamber sees Amendment 77 is an investment in a skilled workforce, which presents an enormous benefit to the business community as the demand for talented workers is greater than ever. This would all be accomplished without raising taxes on hardworking Coloradans.

For more information, read our blog post here, and see the 2020 blue book here.