Glenwood chamber gears up for legislative session
(Editor’s note: This story has been revised from the original online and print version to correct a name reference in the final two paragraphs.)
The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is gearing up for the new session of the Colorado Legislature and preparing for what may become a strenuous year for business and politics.
With the state executive government and both chambers of the Legislature under the control of a single party, Nicholas Colglazier, director of the Colorado Competitive Council, an affiliate of the Denver Chamber of Commerce, told the GSCRA Tuesday that many potentially harmful legislative proposals may be resurrected.
The Colorado Competitive Council succeeded in preventing several pieces of state legislation from becoming law in the previous session, mainly due to the Republican Senate. Those proposals included mandated paid family leave policies, required retirement benefits for businesses of all sizes, and tightening of business arbitration.
“It’s not to say that these are bad policies, and that we can’t do something that’s a win-win, but that we should do something that’s a win-win,” Colglazier said.
The policies are important, he said, but it’s also critical to craft the measures so they don’t bleed small businesses.
Looking to the future, Colglazier hopes business can speak with a united voice on how to address the issues presented by the policies, without hurting small business growth and development.
“It’s going to be very hard, because we only have a certain amount of political capital,” Colglazier said.
“The key to that is getting everybody together and trying to come up with a solution that’s viable,” Angie Anderson, president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, said in a separate interview.
One area where Democrats and Republicans are focused at the state level, and where the GSCRA is working locally, is workforce development.
The Colorado Competitive Council will also look to address transportation funding to address the budget shortfalls and $90 million backlog of road projects, and will work to address health care costs.
While voters elected all Democratic state leaders and gave the party control of both legislative chambers, many of the statewide propositions and amendments the Democratic Party was pushing failed. The oil and gas drilling setbacks, the income tax for education funding, and a sales tax for transportation funding, while not partisan issues, were all struck down.
At the county level, many districts approved tax funding sources for local schools. Voters approved Colorado Mountain College’s bid to increase its mill levy in the event the property assessment rate dips, for example.
The GSCRA uses the Colorado Competitive Council as a resource for what happens at the state level, Anderson said. The chamber is also a member of the council’s steering committee.
“They also seek our input and perspective on bills that they are monitoring,” Anderson said. “It’s a diverse group that looks from a lot of different perspectives, and tries to come up with solutions.”