Gov. Jared Polis has described the session they only wrapped up as “historic.”
The pinnacle of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce makes use of a unique h-word.
Chamber CEO Kelly Brough mentioned a lot of the legislative session felt like an “exhausting haul” for the enterprise group.
Colorado companies have been entrance and heart in fights over quite a few this yr’s high-profile coverage measures — from food delivery service fees that’ll help fund transportation initiatives to rate setting in the health insurance industry to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in certain sectors.
As they mirror on the session, a few of Colorado’s high enterprise leaders agree that it was historic, each by way of the variety of payments lawmakers handed and within the substantive insurance policies Democrats received via every chamber, typically despite enterprise objections.
“(It was) one by which we have been consistently on the protection, it felt. Towards the wall combating for our members and their workers,” Brough mentioned. “The session felt longer as a result of we’re nonetheless recovering from a worldwide pandemic and the scope of legislative points felt broader than ever earlier than.”
She did additionally level to some legislative vivid spots for the enterprise group, corresponding to greater than $130 million in monetary help to assist small companies get better from the pandemic.
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual post-session State of the State occasion on Tuesday. Polis made remarks on the digital discussion board and representatives from firms like Southwest Airways and Xcel Vitality talked about lots of the payments that reached his desk and a few that didn’t.
A measure that might have up to date and adjusted how Colorado defines office harassment failed on the eve of the final day of session. Companies, in addition to state and native governments, felt that proposal would have been expensive, sweeping up good employers into extra litigation and out-of-pocket settlements.
“You possibly can think about how troublesome it’s to specific our dedication, to guard each worker from harassment and discrimination whereas additionally highlighting crucial flaws on this coverage,” Brough mentioned.
She criticized Democrats, who’re of their third yr of controlling the legislature and governor’s workplace, for typically failing to hearken to outdoors views.
“It is the luxurious of single-party management, irrespective of which occasion that’s. Much less stakeholder outreach, much less compromise, much less incentive to seek out shared options to realize shared objectives. And admittedly, extra penalties, whether or not supposed or not,” she mentioned.
She particularly referred to as out House Bill 1232, which created what backers name “the Colorado Choice” for well being care. It was a high precedence for Polis and lots of Democrats. The aim is to decrease well being care prices for individuals who purchase their insurance coverage within the particular person and small group markets. Democrats predict the measure may cut back insurance coverage premiums by 15 % by 2025.
The measure would require insurance coverage firms to promote the Colorado Choice plan throughout the state whereas authorities regulators would set the worth of medical providers to realize financial savings.
Whereas Brough mentioned she believes the brand new plan may avoid wasting folks cash, she fears it’ll improve costs for individuals who get their insurance coverage via bigger employers.
“Lots of our lawmakers know this,” Brough mentioned. “For a lot of of them, it was extra vital to create the notion that the issue was being solved than to reasonably, truly resolve this downside.”
Polis didn’t point out the Colorado Choice in his tackle. As an alternative, he mirrored on what he noticed as different massive wins, saying that the legislative session was nothing wanting “transformative.” He highlighted Senate Bill 260, which can increase $5 billion for transportation tasks via new charges and current taxes and federal funds.
“I am proud to be signing into regulation a complete transportation funding plan that’ll make wanted enhancements to our roads, cut back site visitors, enhance our high quality of life, create hundreds of jobs in building and the transportation sector and hold Colorado aggressive by modernizing our transportation system,” Polis mentioned. “Modernizing how we transfer folks and items in ways in which help companies, enhance effectivity, enhance air high quality and strengthen communities.”
Enhancing the state’s transportation infrastructure has been a long-held aim of the enterprise group, which most not too long ago backed a failed tax increase initiative in 2018.
Polis famous the legislature additionally brought down the business personal property tax for smaller firms. And he mentioned transferring ahead the enterprise group can be a key accomplice to assist resolve how Colorado will spend among the practically $4 billion in federal COVID aid.
“Is there a manner that we will shore up the Unemployment Insurance coverage Belief Fund to keep away from expensive payroll tax will increase sooner or later? Are there further alternatives to scale back rules or convey down taxes to assist make the Colorado economic system much more aggressive?” he requested rhetorically.
The governor additionally highlighted the legislature’s work on tax aid for eating places and incentives for the occasion trade and a proposal to scale back residential property taxes.
He praised the enterprise group for staying engaged and centered on crucial insurance policies that, “have an effect on our prosperity as people, as firms, and as a state. That dedication to our state was right here lengthy earlier than I arrived.”
Brough mentioned she desires to maneuver ahead with the popularity that “we will and may do higher for each other.”