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March 10, 2016

U.S. Representative Scott Tipton visits with area manufacturers at a Manufacturing Forum held at the Mesa County Workforce Center.

Ballot Issue Takes Aim at Changing Constitution
Former State Senators Greg Brophy (R) and Dan Gibbs (D), are launching the first initiative to come from the Building a Better Colorado process which included a meeting in Grand Junction last year. This effort would ask voters to require that petition signatures be gathered in all 35 state senate districts and that the measure pass by at least 55% if proponents wanted to change the state constitution. Click here for more information.

And There is More on Ballot Issues. . .
Building a Better Colorado, on March 8th submitted three fiscal measures for consideration in November. These measures are statutory (not constitutional) and ask the voters to authorize retention of state revenues. 
  • #116 eliminates the state revenue cap (and refunds) imposed by TABOR, and directs that 35 percent of the additional revenues be allocated to education (K-12 and higher education), 35 percent to transportation, and 30 percent to services for seniors and mental health services. 
  • #117 provides a 10 year “time out” from the TABOR revenue limits, and directs the additional funds to be spent in a pattern similar to proposal #116. 
  • #118 provides a 10 year “time out” from the TABOR revenue limits, and does not specify how the additional funds would be expended. This would leave flexibility to the legislative budget process.

As the process moves forward, proponents can be expected to coalesce around one of the three measures. Click here to read more.  

Chamber Weighs In On Several Bills
At the regular meeting of the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs meeting on Tuesday, action was taken on several bills affecting businesses. They include:

  • HB-1073 Electrical Industry Safety And Training Act which changes the requirements for re-certification 
  • HB16-1299 Attorney Fees & Costs in Employment Discrimination Cases which lowers the standard for refunding defendant attorney fees
  • SB16-097 Use Mineral Severance Revenue for Local Governments aimed at stopping the practice of raiding the severance tax fund to balance the state budget
  • SB16-143 Reduce Liquor License Fee for Specified Licensees that also manufacture product

Bills Opposed:

  • HB16-1310 Operators Liable For Oil And Gas Operations including making the companies liable for earthquakes that may occur near their operations.

HB16-1275 Bad for Business
The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has joined other entities in opposing HB16-1275 known as the Tax Haven Bill which passed the House this week. As reported previously. we oppose the bill because it creates uncertainty for corporate taxpayers with legitimate business activities in foreign jurisdictions by changing laws that the Department and taxpayers have relied upon for the past 30 years and creates business uncertainty which could harm economic development recruitment efforts. To learn more, check out the Denver Post editorial on the subject.

Energy Briefing Features COGA Director
The next Energy Briefing on March 16th, 12:00 PM at the Mesa County Workforce Center features Colorado Oil and Gas Association President Dan Haley sharing recently released results of an economic impact study of oil and gas on the state including the effect on government budgets. Cost, which includes lunch, is $15 and you can register by clicking here.

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