As this newsletter goes to print, the Colorado Secretary of State continues to review petitions and certify measures for the November ballot. Shown below are business related ballot measures that have already been certified for the ballot that the Chamber has taken positions on:
Amendment 71 Increasing Requirements for Constitutional Amendments (Raise the Bar) – Chamber Supports
This Amendment would require that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be required to have at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each State Senate District in order to be placed on the ballot. In addition, at least 55% of the votes cast are needed in order to pass a new constitutional amendment. The Colorado Constitution is already more than two and a half times as long as the entire U.S. Constitution due to all of the amendments that have been added in recent years.
Amendment 69 Single Payer Healthcare System – Chamber Opposes
This measure would raise state taxes $25 billion to create a new health care payment system for all individuals living in the state. A new governmental entity called Colorado Care would be created and the system would be managed by a 21 member elected board that is not subject to recall. Funds would be generated from a payroll tax and a 10% income tax on small business owners and retirees who report more than social security income on their tax returns. The impact on economic development and attracting new small businesses to the state would be significant and access to care would be compromised and health care professionals move elsewhere to practice medicine.
Amendment 70 $12 per hour minimum wage – Chamber Opposes
The measure proposes to raise the minimum wage 90 cents on January 1, 2017 and ratchet up to $12 by January 1, 2020. Eric Fruits, the president and chief economist of Economics International Corp. estimates that 90,000 jobs will be lost if the measure passes. Those most affected will be younger workers who already have the highest unemployment rate in the state. He argues that the 44% increase in the compressed time frame of four years will force businesses to cut jobs to compensate for shifting expenditures. Colorado already has a constitutional amendment that mandates a higher rate than the national minimum wage and fluctuates annually based on the rate of inflation.
The fate of the two ballot initiatives related to oil and gas development is still unknown but with only turning in 105,000 signatures with a requirement of 98,492 valid signatures puts both in doubt of meeting the requirements. Other measures that have been certified for the ballot that the Chamber has not taken a position on include: hiking the tobacco tax, bringing back the Presidential Primary, allowing independent voters to participate in primary elections, and medical aid in dying.
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce September 2016 Newsletter.