A great deal of legislation during the First Regular Session of the 72nd General Assembly will impact Colorado taxpayers and businesses, and we've prepared a brief rundown of the legislation that you should pay the closest amount of attention to as it goes into effect (or returns for an encore).
Paid Family Leave
Markedly a failure for its advocates under the Golden Dome, Senate Bill 19-188, a proposal for Paid Family Leave in the State of Colorado, was watered down to a study last session, which means appointed individuals have been hammering out a proposal to bring to legislators. Unfortunately for taxpayers, this means we’ll have to deal with this legislation in 2020.
The original legislation was fraught with abuses of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), including a tax (labeled a fee) that would’ve applied to every single employee currently working in the State of Colorado – without any opt-out mechanism. It also allowed a single, unelected administrator to increase the fee if necessary, didn’t consider companies that already provide family leave, and had no carve-outs for small businesses that aren’t able to lose employees for longer periods of time.
As we previously highlighted, the 2020 proposal is already on life support.
Retirement Savings Accounts
Senate Bill 19-173 crafted the "Secure Savings Board" to investigate the possibilities of the Colorado State Government providing retirement investment plans to Coloradans. While we haven't seen the exact implementation mechanisms for this idea yet, it's still a piece of legislation that Coloradans should be aware of.
While legislators strayed from another statewide increase of the minimum wage, they did pass House Bill 19-1210, which now allows municipalities to increase the minimum wage on their own, as long as it is above the state-mandated minimum. Denver has already taken action on this, increasing the minimum wage to $16/hour by 2022. Undoubtedly, this will result in less take-home pay for lower-income Coloradans and more difficulty for small businesses in hiring new labor.
Reduction of the State Income Tax
Don't get too excited - despite Governor Jared Polis' previous interest in reducing the income tax rate for Coloradans, Senate Bill 19-055 didn't get across the finish line, never making it out of committee. The bill would have reduced the rate by approximately 3%. It is unclear whether this proposal could come back in 2020, and unclear if Governor Polis will flex any more muscle with his own party to ensure its passage.
Colorado Taxpayers Advocate Fund, Inc. exists to educate citizens and Colorado public officials on issues of public policy so they can, if they choose, make a difference in their community on issues affecting their city, state, and even their country at large.