During one of our employment law webinars last month a participant used the Zoom chat box to bemoan the fact that the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is going to negatively impact all businesses and nonprofits in the state with employees. And he was right…it will. The Chamber lobbied heavily to stop or amend that bill before it became law, not because we don’t believe there should be equal pay for equal work (which is already protected by federal law) but because of the overreach of government with these additional requirements on employers of all sizes. Many are just now realizing the enormity of the impact these and other laws have on their ability to run their businesses.
The Chamber is a voice for business, which is why advocacy must be a primary focus for the Chamber. To maximize our voice and our advocacy efforts, Chamber board and staff need the support and engagement of the Chamber membership. As the Colorado General Assembly reconvenes on February 16th, I’m using this month’s Chairman Column to issue a call to action for all members. Regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion, bills like the one cited above make it much harder to conduct business and be successful in our state. We need you to be engaged with us in our advocacy efforts around business issues. The early indications are that many business exemptions and tax credits will be on the chopping block as the state tries to balance its budget and that new fees will be levied to address transportation funding and other needs. This will affect you and your bottom line as a business owner/manager.
How can you get involved?
- Stay informed by reading our legislative e-newsletters or attending Government Affairs Committee meetings.
- When we issue a call to action, get engaged by contacting lawmakers and/or testifying in legislative committees. While that may sound daunting, it is very impactful when a small business owner personalizes what a bill may or may not do to help their business succeed. With the opportunity for remote testimony via Zoom this year you may not even have to leave your office to testify.
- Advocate in your community by helping your network understand the impact of over regulation and taxation. Recent employment law changes, including the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, are well-intended and sound like a good idea. But the ramifications for small and medium businesses were either not well understood or not deemed important. Small and medium businesses are major drivers of economic growth. We need strong job creators to keep our community working!
The Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee meets every other week during the session for those who would like to be more hands on and delve deeper into the issues and impacts. Any staff member can get you signed up and your participation is welcomed! Now, more than ever, we need to be engaged at the beginning of the lawmaking process rather than complaining about a law after it is passed.