Jefferson County Business Lobby News: March 19, 2015
Posted on: March 19, 2015
We have finally passed the midpoint in the 2015 legislative session!
Today marks the 66th day which means there are only 54 days left. For the most part, the legislature has not heard very many controversial bills. With the exception of a gun bill and a few abortion related bills, issues have been addressed in a mostly bi-partisan fashion so far. That will absolutely change in the next few weeks, however, when the newest revenue forecast is released on March 18, and the Joint Budget Committee begins the battle between funding legislative priorities and Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds.
The dynamics are much different than previous years with the Republicans controlling the Senate. Leadership in both chambers from both parties will have to come to some kind of agreement to ensure that a balanced budget is passed as required by the Colorado Constitution. For now, that means that a slew of bills are stuck in the appropriations committees in both chambers to determine if they can be funded with existing state money.
While there are partisan battles ahead of us, both sides of the aisle have come together to introduce a package of workforce development bills. The package may contain up to fifteen new pieces of legislation to address workforce issues in Colorado including: tax credits for employers assisting in student loan repayment, more support for vocational and technical training for students still in high school, and focusing more state efforts on career pathway programs. It is unlikely that the entire package will make it through both the Senate and House and be signed by the governor, but stakeholders and supporters believe a majority of them will. Some will have a huge price tag which may decide the fate of the legislation even if the policy makers can agree it is good policy.
The Jefferson County Business Lobby has been very active at the Capitol this week. ML Richardson was able to come and testify in support of Senate Bill 180 which creates the “Regulatory Reform Act of 2015.” The bill passed the Senate Business, Affairs, & Labor Committee with bi-partisan support and is headed to the full Senate for a vote. Kevin McCasky also testified this week on a workforce development bill. Kevin relayed to House Finance Committee that the bill would create another tool in the toolbox for economic developers and their ability to attract a good workforce. The bill passed the committee 9-2 and was sent to the House Appropriations Committee.
Thank you to all of those engaged in the political process at JCBL! Your input truly makes a difference.