Colorado Springs

Hey, have you heard? There’s an election coming up…

In a little over two weeks, voters will be asked to cast their ballots, choosing from a laundry list of social, environmental, political and, yes, business-related issues that will have significant impacts in our region and state.

This week, Business Journal reporters have broken down multiple ballot issues that will impact business, whichever way the vote goes. The Journal’s editorial board is taking a position on three of these issues.

• Amendment B: An effort to repeal the Gallagher Amendment governing property taxes

We won’t get into the inner workings here, but simply put: The Gallagher Amendment’s time has come. It’s been argued that the amendment is outdated and we couldn’t agree more. As the 2020 State Ballot Information Booklet points out, if not repealed, the amendment will have some wonky effects on property taxes — the very wealthy could see a tax cut while small businesses and farmers will pay more. And small businesses would be taxed at a rate four times higher than residential property owners, the booklet says.

Colorado already has some of the lowest residential property tax rates in the country. If a balance isn’t reached, Gallagher could result in painful cuts for already cash-strapped schools and city services. 

Vote Yes on Amendment B.

Proposition 116: An income tax cut for individuals and corporations, but less money for state

Proposition 116 would permanently lower Colorado’s income tax rate to 4.55 percent from 4.63 percent. It would compound the impact of significant budget cuts the Legislature has already made to education, transportation, health care and other state services as a result of the COVID-caused economic crisis. 

Additional loss of state revenue will lead to layoffs and reduce critical state services and further harm the state’s economy. 

If passed, state revenue would fall by more than $158 million in 2020-21 and nearly $170 million in 2021-22. That’s less money for transportation, infrastructure and parks.

If passed, about 75 percent of taxpayers would receive a tax cut of less than $50 per year. Comparatively, those with incomes more than $500,000, representing less than 2 percent of taxpayers, would receive more than half of the total tax savings. 

Vote No on Proposition 116.

• Proposition 118: Create a new state program and fees to provide paid family and medical leave to workers

The Business Journal has consistently called for businesses to implement paid family and medical leave programs. If passed, Prop 118 would make that easier by creating a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program. 

This measure would allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for their own or an immediate family member’s serious health condition, to care for a new child or when a family member is called to active duty military service. The measure, managed by the Colorado Department of Labor, would be self-funded by a tax paid equally by employees and employers. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees are exempt from paying their share of the tax, but their employees will still be covered. The self-employed can opt in or out of this program, as can local governments and employers with private plans.   

Prop 118 allows employees to take leave with financial support and job protection and protects employers, who will no longer pay the wages of an employee on medical or family leave. 

The United States is one of the only developed nations without such worker protections. It’s time that changed.

Vote Yes on Prop 118.