• Taxation

    2017 GUIDELINES ON TAXATION

    Background 

    1. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce believes that a balanced tax policy is vital to the economic health of Colorado in general and Mesa County in particular.
    2. In 1982, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment regarding property taxes referred to as the Gallagher Amendment. This created a gross inequity in the Colorado property tax system caused by the disparity between the tax rates for commercial, industrial, non-agriculture property, and residential properties.
    3. In 1992, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment limiting revenue and expenditures referred to as the TABOR Amendment or Tax Payers Bill of Rights.  This amendment requires that any tax increases must be approved by the vote of the people.
    4. In 2000, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment that required state-based funding for public education to increase annually by the rate of inflation plus one percent, from the 2001-2011 fiscal years, and then increased by at least the rate of inflation after that.

    The Chamber Supports:

    1. A long-term goal of a complete overhaul of the state’s tax system, including but not limited to action to simplify, clarify, and hopefully restore citizen’s understanding of and confidence in Colorado’s taxing structure.
    2. Efforts to resolve the Constitutional conflicts created by the interaction of the current system.
    3. Changes to property taxes that will establish fair, logical and equitable property taxes throughout Colorado.
    4. Individual tax policies that have a beneficial outcome on Colorado’s economic stability and development and make Colorado more competitive.
    5. A competitive corporate income tax structure.
    6. The circumvention of TABOR by the establishment of new fees to increase revenues.

    The Chamber Opposes:

    1. New taxes without voter approval.
    2. Tax policies that have a negative impact on the state and local governments’ credit ratings.
    3. Any legislation or regulation imposing a tax or fee on service businesses.
    4. Any bonded indebtedness or user fees that allow revenues to be used for general fund appropriations or to pay the cost of any governments’ day to day operations.
    5. Reductions in tax credits and incentives for economic development purposes.

     The Chamber Will:

    1. Continue to monitor and study developments in the taxation of “e-commerce” and work to ensure that whatever solution is accepted will not negatively impact state and local businesses.
    2. Take an active role in developing potential solutions to the Constitutional conflicts created by the interaction of the TABOR Amendment, the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23.
    3. Closely monitor any proposal for new funding mechanisms for meeting our highway maintenance and construction needs to determine their impact on business and the State’s economy.

     

     

  • Economic Development

    2017 GUIDELINES ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

    Background

    1. The creation of jobs and wealth through expansions of existing companies and the attraction of new business activity to develop a diverse business environment are central to Western Colorado’s long-term prosperity, protection against economic downturns, and maintaining a high quality of life.  Quality of life begins with a well- paying job.
    2. Various economic development partners and the business community have come together to create a county economic development plan and marketing plan.
    3. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce believes that economic development occurs best in a highly cooperative and supportive partnership between the public sector and the business community.
    4. Business needs the following to grow: an excellent infrastructure (including transportation infrastructure), a superior educational system and workforce training, rational and reasonable taxes and fees, and entrepreneurial opportunity and success.
    5. Business needs a consistent and stable regulatory environment to continue to invest and create jobs.
    6. Grand Junction is an important regional hub for multiple products and services which are major economic drivers in the local economy.
    7. The Chamber recognizes that existing businesses form Colorado’s present economic base. These businesses provide the existing jobs and tax base for local and state entities.  They are also a source of new jobs, with approximately 80 percent of future job growth comes from the expansion of existing businesses.
    8. The Chamber is in a unique position to provide support for policies that encourage quality job opportunities and increased income in Mesa County.Tourism and agriculture provide a positive stimulus to the local economy.
    9. Energy and mineral development are strong economic drivers in the regional economy.
    10. Mesa County and the Western Slope are significant contributors to the State’s overall economic well being and budget.

    Guideline Statement

    The Chamber’s Economic Development policy is also reflected in other specific Chamber policies:  We support quality education, workforce development efforts; a predictable and rational tax structure; eliminating tax policy that discourages business investment; infrastructure improvements; and other laws, ordinances, and regulations that encourage private initiative, individual incentive, competitive enterprise, and which make our community competitive.

    The Chamber Supports

    1. A well-funded, cohesive, and aggressive economic development effort.
    2. The development of a cohesive and comprehensive economic development plan for Mesa County, in consultation with the Chamber’s economic development partners.
    3. A regulatory climate that is balanced, consistent, and predictable, making it easier for business to grow and thrive.
    4. Meaningful programs, initiatives, tax incentives, and the elimination of disincentives in order to reduce the cost of doing business.
    5. Meaningful initiatives and efforts that assist in creating a skilled labor force, including allocation of adequate training dollars to enable local post-secondary educational institutions to meet the needs of business.
    6. An expedited delivery mechanism for workforce training including the needs of a non-English speaking workforce.
    7. Provisions for appropriate assistance to local businesses in their retention and expansion efforts.
    8. Efforts to promote Colorado as a tourism destination, as well as the provision of funding for tourism promotion.
    9. Making venture capital funds available to new or expanding businesses.
    10. Right-to-Work legislation.
    11. Streamlining of all business permitting processes.
    12. Enhanced state incentives for distressed counties including Enterprise Zones and other tools.
    13. A balanced economic development approach that acknowledges the value of all segments of our economy, including but not limited to, technology development, energy, tourism, foreign trade, and small business.

    The Chamber Opposes:

    1.  Weakening of tax incentives to business.
    2. Further erosion of the Enterprise Zone Tax Credits for business investments and job creation.
    3. Overly burdensome and lengthy permit processes.
    4. Activism targeting specific industries (e.g. energy, animal agriculture) with the intent to disrupt their ordinary and legal operations.
  • Healthcare

    2017 GUIDELINES ON HEALTHCARE

    Background

    1. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the health care system in the United States is a unique combination of employer-based plans, individually purchased plans, and a government-sponsored system.
    2. The rapidly rising cost of health care and health insurance represents a significant burden to Colorado businesses currently providing health coverage to employees, and a significant deterrent to businesses looking to provide health coverage to employees.
    3. Health insurance premium increases are driven by a number of different factors, including but not limited to:
      1. Financial incentives that encourage excessive utilization of health care;
      2. Overuse of emergency room services and the use of an inappropriate level of care in general;
      3. Lack of preventative care;
      4. Inadequate funding for government health care programs, most recently impacted by the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and resulting in increased Medicaid enrollment (i.e., Medicaid, Medicare, CHP+);
      5. Increasing prescription drug prices:
      6. A high level of defensive medicine (often created by filing of frivolous malpractice lawsuits;
      7. The medical needs and demands of an aging population;
      8. Costly new medical advances;
      9. Inefficient government regulation;
      10. Lack of pricing transparency and comparability;
      11. Increases in administrative costs;
      12. Benefit design;
      13. Rapid increase in medical inflation;
      14. Federal and State mandates (e.g. the essential health benefits package, cost-sharing limitations, maternity coverage for men and pediatric dental
      15. Changes to rating rules
    4. The private sector is incurring an increasingly disproportionate share of the costs of healthcare – in particular, because of insufficient government reimbursement for health care services to hospitals, medical centers, and physicians, among others. This “cost shift” has a tremendous impact on the business community and the provision of health insurance.
    5. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the highly regulated nature of healthcare and the impacts that adverse regulation has on the cost of healthcare.
    6. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce emphasizes the need to structure appropriate access to health care – especially preventive care – and to optimize the provision of high quality, cost-effective health care services.

    The Chamber Supports

    1. Health care reform legislation and regulation that promotes greater affordability, community collaboration, a higher level of stability that complies with all other policy positions.
    2. Efforts and initiatives that emphasize healthy lifestyles including personal responsibility for lifestyle choices and encourage preventive medical care, health education awareness, early screening and detection, and disease management.
    3. Partnerships with the local health care community to address local health care needs (such as Clinically Integrated Network agreements between hospitals, physicians and insurers). The Chamber encourages continuing creative and innovative approaches to better address both affordability of, and access to, excellent healthcare in our community and the Grand Valley.
    4. Transparency programs and initiatives aimed at educating health care consumers and businesses with meaningful information on the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care procedures, providers and plans; and initiatives encouraging cost-effective and efficient utilization of the health care system.
    5. Addressing the cost shift from the public sector to the private sector, with government providing adequate funding for governmental health insurance programs (i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, and CHP+), taking into consideration the increased Medicaid enrollment under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and decreased reimbursement to hospitals, medical centers and physicians, among others.
    6. Addressing the cost shift within the private sector due to uncompensated care, by requiring all individuals who can afford it to have some form of health coverage.
    7. A comprehensive approach to addressing the issue of the uninsured and underinsured, including increased demands on Emergency Room care, while emphasizing collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors.
    8. Programs and initiatives intended to ensure appropriate access to health care and health coverage for greater numbers of individuals, especially children.
    9. A coordinated effort to address the shortage of healthcare providers, particularly on the Western Slope and in Mesa County.
    10. Expanding and implementing measures aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of the State’s Medicaid program, including: coordinated care programs, aggressive disease and case management protocols, additional long-term care options, and pharmaceutical cost management.; while limiting the duplication and overlap of the various case management/care coordination programs being implemented by numerous entities.
    11. The employer’s ability to select health benefits which best meet the needs of the business and its employees.
    12. More competition and fair competition in health insurance, including market expansion across state lines, so long as there is a level playing field for competitors, whether implementing state or federal standards.
    13. Reevaluation of the appropriate role of the judicial process in the health care system and reform of the medical malpractice and medical liability system. Reform may include limiting non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice cases.
    14. Initiatives and programs aimed at giving consumers more control and responsibility over the dollars spent on their care – i.e. tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSAs), which are coupled with high deductibles and allow the balance of such accounts to carry over to future years.
    15. Efforts that address administrative inefficiencies; including the simplification and standardization of administrative procedures inside and outside of the Health Benefit Exchange, as well as the more widespread use of efficiency-increasing technology.
    16. Tax credits or incentives for individuals and small businesses to help offset the cost of health insurance.
    17. Greater flexibility for businesses to band together to address employee health needs.
    18. Innovation and options for business and consumers without discrimination or penalization including direct primary care.

     

    The Chamber Opposes

    1. Shifting health care costs from the public to private sector. As such, the Chamber opposes the public healthcare option that would compete with the private health insurance market.
    2. Any mandate applied to the private sector that would exempt the State of Colorado, the Federal Government or their employees.
    3. Any mandate requiring employers to offer insurance or pay an assessment.
    4. Legislative interventions on health care issues that would be more appropriately addressed within the health care system (e.g., mandates staffing ratios or minimum lengths of stay).
  • Higher Education

    2016 GUIDELINES ON HIGHER EDUCATION

    Background

    Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College the premier post secondary institutions in our area, have a significant impact on the economy, quality-of-life, and quality and availability of the workforce in Mesa County and the region. Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College have paid special attention in recent years to the needs of the business community, creating a symbiotic relationship focused on preparing the workforce for the jobs that exist in the marketplace.  In recent years, higher education has taken a disproportionate share of budget cuts in comparison to other state agencies.

    The Chamber Supports

    Colorado Mesa University receiving a proportionate share of state funding (operating, financial aid and capital construction) made available to state institutions of higher education in Colorado.

    The continued expansion of academic programs at every level at Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College designed to meet market demands and enhance the quality of the local workforce.

    Colorado Mesa University continuing to act as a regional  institution for both four year and graduate education, advancing the role of  Western Colorado Community College in partnership with School District 51 and the community, and remaining responsive and connected to the needs of the  business community and other sectors.

    Continued expansion of Colorado Mesa University through the acquisition of property for future facility development, the closure of streets to gain the physical integrity of the campus, and the development of new and remodeled facilities to facilitate quality instruction and to accommodate student and academic program growth.

    Measures that promote enhanced technological means for delivery of education to rural areas.

    Measures that ensure that higher education is affordable and accessible to Colorado residents, particularly residents of Western Colorado.

    Ensuring that students enrolled throughout Western Colorado have comparable state financial support as they pursue postsecondary degrees.

    Strengthening local governing boards at each institution (rather than centralizing power in an all-inclusive system) in order to maintain a degree of autonomy and develop market driven education programs to meet the needs of our members and our region.

    Measures designed to provide maximum flexibility and reduced bureaucratic regulations and unnecessary oversight for institutions like Colorado Mesa University (i.e. lengthy review and approval of academic programs, multiple financial reporting systems, multiple personnel systems, procurement processes, etc).

    The Chamber Opposes

    Defunding the public higher education system in Colorado or singling out higher education in general or Colorado Mesa University in particular for disproportionate cuts in comparison to other state agencies or institutions.

    Efforts to politicize higher education funding, tuition policies, governance and delivery.

    Transforming the Colorado Commission on Higher Education from a statewide coordinating board in to a regulatory board with authority that supersedes that delegated to local governing boards.

    State mandated efforts to merge institutions or consolidate local governing boards.

  • Housing

    2016 GUIDELINES ON HOUSING

    Background

    The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is a proponent of the free enterprise system and opposes undue intervention by the government.

    The Chamber sees the need to balance the rights of private property owners and ability of the community to provide low and moderate income housing in order to spur economic growth and maintain a healthy environment.

    The Chamber Supports

    Housing opportunities available to community residents and workers.

    Collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors to address attainable housing.

    A fair and equitable system for incentivizing private sector activity to diversify housing options available in the community.

    The Chamber Opposes

    Public sector competition with the private sector.

  • Immigration

    2016 GUIDELINES ON IMMIGRATION

    Background

    The United States is faced with a large and growing population of unauthorized aliens entering the country illegally, often in search of employment.

    Some proposed legislation would require businesses to assume more responsibility for ensuring that hose in the country illegally are not employed.

    The issue of illegal immigrants and how to address those currently in the country is a national problem with social and economic implications for all involved.

    Mesa County has a long tradition of employing seasonal laborers in our orchards and other agricultural endeavors.

    Most employers are small in Mesa County and do not employ full time human resource managers.

    Because of inaction at the Federal level, States are now trying to address what is a national issue.

    Guideline Statement

    The United States is a nation born of immigrants.  There is a unique and strong bond between the strength of this nation and its history as a “melting pot” for those seeking a new life from all over the globe.

    The role of the Chamber is to represent business and while there are multiple facets to the issue of illegal immigration, our organization is focused on how employers can and will be affected in this ongoing national debate.

    The Chamber Supports

    Federal legislation to address immigration.

    Measures that will ensure the Nation’s borders are secure.

    Expansion and streamlining of the guest worker program.

    A reliable user friendly method whereby employers can easily verify immigration status of employees, and be help harmless in the case of errors and omissions by that system.

    Provisions in any proposed legislation that would hold employers harmless when using a federal or state e-verify system.

    The Chamber Opposes

    Legislation that would impose punitive damages on Colorado employers or burden them with administrative tasks in addition to their compliance efforts with regard to  federal immigration law.

  • K-12 Education

    2016 GUIDELINES ON K-12 EDUCATION

    Background

    The business community recognizes the importance of K-12 education as an essential building block in a strong and vibrant community and economy.  Partnerships between business and education are essential to ensuring a quality education for children in Mesa County, and a qualified workforce for employers.

    The Chamber Supports

    Direct business involvement in education and the active involvement of Chamber members in education and workforce readiness programs, (e.g. workplace readiness, STEM programs, YEA! and Hire Me First Programs.)

    Efforts to address the financial needs of education in Mesa County, and ensure local school districts receive full federal and state funding.

    Local school district goals aimed at providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary for the future, for the purpose of providing career paths for skilled employees.

    New and updated facilities to keep pace with growth and advancement.

    Local control of our school districts and limitations of state and federal regulations and controls.

    An evaluation system for educators that will advance and reward quality teachers and administrators, thus leading to increased student learning.

    Enhanced student options, choice, and multiple pathways to graduation.

    As much learning time for students as possible, with effective and efficient accountability and assessment systems that provide timely feedback mechanisms that teachers can utilize to meet student needs.

     

  • Mandates

    2016 GUIDELINES ON MANDATES

    Background

    Local, state, and federal governmental and administrative bodies impose unnecessary ordinances, laws, rules, and regulations on the business community. These legal and regulatory burdens can distort the market, subvert local control, and inhibit the ability of businesses to succeed.

    These legal and regulatory burdens are often in the form of mandates that impose unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens on the business community and, ultimately translate into increased costs of doing business.

    Businesses of all sizes are impacted by these mandates.

    The Chamber Supports

    Efforts by local state, and federal lawmakers, regulators, and executives to thoroughly analyze proposed laws and regulations and to resist enacting additional financial, administrative or regulatory burdens.

    Efforts by the local, state and federal lawmakers, regulators, and executives to thoroughly analyze existing laws and regulations and to pursue eliminating or mitigating unnecessary financial, administrative, regulatory or sub-regulatory burdens

    Efforts to increase local control of state and federally funded work and training programs.

    Alignment of the residency requirements for school district board members that is similar to that of other local elected offices.

     

    The Chamber Opposes:

    Legislation, mandates, regulations, and sub-regulations that place unnecessary administrative and financial burdens on businesses.

    Legislation and mandates that would erode local control and the authority of local governments.

  • Transportation

    2016 GUIDELINES ON TRANSPORTATION

    Background

    Transportation by definition is the movement of people goods and services in, around and through our region.  The development and maintenance of an efficient transportation infrastructure is an important part of a healthy local economic climate.

    Grand Junction, as the regional hub for Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, needs transportation to continue to play a key role in the continued viability of the area’s businesses and the well being of its citizens.

    The Chamber Supports:

    A statewide approach to highway funding, recognizing the importance of all Colorado roads to all citizens.

    CDOT bonding against future revenues in an effort to maximize highway improvements but only to the extent that a dedicated funding source of revenue is identified to service the debt created by the bonding which does not negatively impact dollars for maintenance.

    Efforts to develop an increased and sustainable source of funding for transportation infrastructure at the local, state and federal levels, placing transportation and transportation infrastructure as priority.

    A planned local transportation infrastructure, including continued development and improvement of a system that complements growth and development, including public transit.

    Efforts to expand and retain general and commercial air service into Grand Junction.

    Efforts and initiatives to address mobility issues along the I-70 transportation corridor through the state with particular focus on access for western slope citizens.

    Streamlining of federal, state and local regulations for the construction of local roads and highways so as to minimize the cost to taxpayers in terms of time, resources and money.

    Continued dialog with citizens and businesses during all phases of transportation infrastructure improvement.

    Completion of the Beltway Project which includes the 29 Road connection to I-70.

    The use of local contractors and subcontractors in line with local government guidelines for all projects. Encouraging local governments in creating reciprocal bidder preference which spurs a level playing field.

    Development of bicycle and pedestrian trails in coordination with other roadway improvements.

    Efforts to increase access to rail for local businesses.

    Greater use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in government owned vehicles and the continued research and development of CNG infrastructure.

    Term limits for state transportation commissioners.

    The Chamber Opposes:

    Any use of highway funds for non-highway purposes, including funds raised from any taxes on vehicles, motor fuels or on auto parts and accessories.

    Altering the State’s current Resource Allocation Formula (RAF) so as to reduce either real or proportional funding for Western Colorado Roads.

    Efforts to change the composition of Colorado’s Transportation Commission.

    Tolls on existing roadways.

    The Colorado Department of Transportation from partnering in and supporting individual efforts of municipalities in sales tax increases that do not address statewide transportation needs.

  • Unemployment

    2016 Guidelines on Unemployment

    Background:

     Unemployment Insurance is a major expense for the Chamber’s business members.

    The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce supported the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Reform to help bring the Colorado Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund solvent in a way that would not cause undue burden to Colorado businesses.

    The Federal government may increase the FUTA tax rates.

    The Chamber Supports:

    Reform that supports solvency of the Unemployment Insurance system.

    A system that places auditors in the field to investigate fraud, the overpayment of money and the refusal of employment.

    Efforts to limit fraudulent utilization of the system by employers and employees.

    Having clearing defined and understandable statutes on Unemployment Insurance that employers administer (e.g. the proper way to establish an independent contractor relationship).

    Creating a clear definition and requirements for independent contractor relationships.

    Any legislation to remove ambiguity or add clarity to unemployment insurance statutes.

    Graduated reductions on benefit extensions that would not exceed the current term of benefits (26 weeks).

    The Chamber Opposes:

    Any regulations that add undue cost and burdens on employers.

    Burdensome regulations and processes that add excess administrative, clerical, or reporting for employers.

    Unemployment reform and legislation that is punitive to employers.

    The use of unemployment funding for the Family Medical Leave Act.

  • Water

    2016 Guidelines on Water

    Background

    The Grand Valley is unique and magnificent, yet delicate. On the average, the Valley receives about eight inches of moisture each year.  Cycles of drought are common throughout Colorado and western Colorado’s history.  As Mesa County’s population continues to grow, ever-increasing demands on available water resources will occur.

    Water resources represent a vital asset to the citizens of Mesa County, western Colorado and the state of Colorado. Water is an essential component of the economic, social and environmental quality of life we enjoy.

    The preservation and protection of private ownership and the right to use water, its conservation, and its wise use are necessary to preserve the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of western Colorado and the entire state.

    Seventy percent of the state’s water supply is found in western Colorado. As western Colorado continues to grow, maintaining sufficient water supplies for current and future use is of crucial importance.  Furthermore, industries in western Colorado such as agriculture, small businesses, tourism and natural resource development require steady, reliable, and high- quality water supplies.

    The Colorado River within its basin is fully appropriated. Any future out of basin water resources would be a reallocation of the resource.

    The Chamber Supports:

    Local water conservation efforts, such as:

    • Promotion and application of low water consumption landscaping.
    • Reducing water use to the reasonable extent possible without adversely affecting the aesthetic and social qualities that a well-landscaped environment provides to the local community.
    • Structuring water rates that incorporate block rates (the more water used, the more money paid) per unit.
    • To the extent possible, putting water to use in the most efficient manner, without removing water from the use to which it was originally appropriated.

    The concept of comprehensive watershed management as well as realistic and cost-effective programs designed to control further pollution or contamination of Colorado water supported by water quality standards that are based on factual information and supportive data.

    Local and State planning processes that incorporate the concerns, comments and needs of irrigation and domestic water providers when responding to the Agency Review Process.

    Projects and initiatives, including adequate local, state, federal and private sector funding needed to manage and/or eradicate the tamarisk.

    Programs and educational information promoting conservation, use and storage of water for Colorado’s current and future needs.
    The following:

    • The repair and improvement of existing water storage and transmission facilities/infrastructure as needed statewide.
    • Water storage projects strategically located throughout the state as well as enlarging existing reservoirs when the water levels are low and opportunities are presented.
    • The principle of “no material injury” to existing water rights by projects that remove water from its basin of origin.
    • Mitigation in the form of compensatory storage and a financial commitment to address the economic impacts of removing water from its basin of origin to the satisfaction of the water users of that basin.
    • Using statewide resources that incorporate cooperation, collaboration and partnerships when addressing statewide water issue.
    • The expanded and effective use of the Colorado Water Conservation Board resources along with that of the Colorado Water and Power Development Authority.

    Preservation of Colorado’s water entitlements under interstate compacts and the protection of the state’s prior appropriation doctrine.

    Having the State of Colorado and appropriate entities participate to provide necessary water and financial support for the endangered fish recovery programs.

    The concept that no local entity should be forced to relinquish water sources for endangered species without adequate mitigation and compensation.

    That any reallocation must satisfactorily address concerns brought forward by the basin of origin.

      

    The Chamber Opposes:

    Increasing dependence on potable water supplies for outdoor use and irrigation when untreated water could be used for such purposes.

    Mandatory requirements by public or private entities for high water consumption turf culture.

    The continued depletion of western Colorado’s water resources without mitigation, unless it is determined to be satisfactory to the water users in the donor basin of origin.

    Any water policy actions that would diminish local government planning powers (e.g. 1041 powers).

    Any federal action that would impair, diminish or divest any water right determined under the Constitution and laws of the state of Colorado.

    Any federal actions contrary to Colorado Water Law.

    Any water projects incorporating transfers of western Colorado water that diminish the quality of water in western Colorado.

    Federal Wild and Scenic River designations or Suitability findings for Wild and Scenic River designations that are not the result of a local consensus of Mesa County based water stakeholders.

     

  • Workers’ Compensation

    2016 Guidelines on Workers’ Compensation

    Background

    Workers’ Compensation Insurance is a major expense for the Chamber’s business members.

    Mesa County businesses continue to express concern with the local administrative law judge and the decision making process.

    The Chamber Supports:

    The major provisions of SB91-218, which have been shown to be fair to injured workers as well as effective in reducing costs.

    Efforts to limit fraudulent utilization of the system by employers and/or employees.

    Legislative efforts to bring about reform and changes to the current system of administrative law judges (ALJs).  Study of the current system of administrative law judges is necessary in order to determine whether oversight of their decisions is necessary in order to increase effectiveness.  Responsibilities must be more clearly defined and a system should be implemented that ensures accountability for decisions.

    Having a worker’s compensation insurance entity that is an insurer of last resort and ensures policy holder’s premiums are protected.

    The Chamber Opposes:

    Efforts to increase the flexibility of awards through enhanced opportunities for litigation or medical interpretation.

    Efforts to reduce reserves that would negatively impact carriers’ ability to pay out claims during a catastrophic loss.