JCBL Legislative Update – Transportation Funding Measures on Ballot

Four transportation funding measures filed for the November 2018 ballot

 By Jeff Weist
Jefferson County Business Lobby

February 23, 2018

One of the Jefferson County Business Lobby’s top priorities for 2018, as in years past, is increasing the state’s investment in our transportation infrastructure. Colorado is amassing a transportation investment deficit of nearly $1 billion each year, and we are spending half as much on transportation, on a per-person basis, as we did 25 years ago. While transportation funding has also been a top priority for the Republican and Democratic leaderships in the State Legislature, finding bi-partisan compromise on how to achieve it has been hard.

As a result, a business-led bi-partisan coalition this week filed four similar ballot titles in the hopes of asking the voters this coming November for an increase in the state sales tax to fund roads. The coalition is led by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Contractors Association, along with a number of local elected officials and community leaders.

According to the coalition, “These proposals increase the sales tax by point-five percent, point-six-two percent or one-point-zero percent, which amounts to just five to ten cents on a ten dollar purchase. A fourth proposal includes a point-five percent sales tax increase and requires the state to transfer $150 million from the general fund each year to state and local transportation projects. One proposal will ultimately be chosen to go forward, a decision that is dependent on the final amount that the state Legislature dedicates to transportation in this year’s budget.”

An expected surplus of state income tax revenue resulting from the recently-enacted federal tax reform bill has created an opportunity to dedicate some of that new revenue to transportation. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are in preliminary negotiations to determine how much, if any, of that surplus will go to roads.

While the four ballot initiatives filed this week vary in the amount of new revenue to be raised, all four would distribute those new dollars in the same manner. Forty-five percent would go to CDOT to address major projects like I-25 and I-70, and would be available to be bonded so the proceeds can be realized early and the work completed faster.

Forty percent of the new revenue would be split 50-50 among cities and counties, who would have flexibility to determine its best use.

And 15% would be spent by the state on multi-modal transportation options like mass transit, bike lanes, etc.

The tax increase would sunset after 20 years, the expected pay off of any bonds issued on the revenue.

The JCBL has not yet taken a position on any of these proposed ballot initiatives, but we will keep you updated.

Just a reminder that you can find the status of all of the JCBL bills at jeffcobusinesslobby.org. While you are there, sign up for regular updates under the “Take Action” icon. Lastly, please mark your calendars for the JCBL Day at the Capitol on March 6th from 8-11am.

The Jefferson County Business Lobby is the united voice of JeffCo businesses at the Colorado State Capitol.  The JCBL is a partnership comprised of the Arvada, Evergreen, Golden, West Metro, Westminster and Wheat Ridge Chambers of Commerce, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation and the Applewood and Wheat Ridge Business Associations.

Fore the Memories: Alzheimer’s Association Benefit Golf Tournament

Please join us in supporting the Colorado Alzheimer’s Association at the 1st Annual “Fore the Memories” Benefit Golf Tournament at Fossil Trace Golf Course on June 27th. This charity event, brought to you by MorningStar Senior Living of Arvada and Safe Homecare, will donate all proceeds to the Colorado Alzheimer’s Association to help our fellow Coloradans who are fighting every day with the deadly Alzheimer’s disease. We need golfers, hole sponsors, donors and volunteers for this fun filled day! Please go to our online registration page at: http://buytickets.at/forethememories/142549 for more information. Thank you, in advance, for your participation. I look forward to seeing you there!

Event Date: June 27th, 2018
Starts at: 7:00 am, Ends at: 2:00 pm
Cost: $150 for single golfer, $600 for a foursome, $300 hole sponsor, $800 hole sponsor/foursome combo
Pre-registration required? Yes

Location: Fossil Trace Golf Course
Address: 3050 Illinois St, Golden, CO

Contact: John Bachofer at MorningStar of Arvada, 303-250-1280, For Online Registration, Click the Link: http://buytickets.at/forethememories/142549

JCBL Legislative Update – February 2018

JeffCo’s legislators are leading the way on the top business issues in 2018

 By Jeff Weist,
Jefferson County Business Lobby

February 12, 2018

As the Jefferson County Business Lobby reviews and takes formal positions on the most important business-related bills of the 2018 Colorado legislative session, we are proud to note that, once again, JeffCo’s own state legislators are playing leading roles on many of the JCBL’s top policy priorities.

Those priorities for the year include increased transportation funding, easing regulatory burdens to maintain a strong, competitive business environment and helping businesses attract and retain skilled employees through better education and an affordable housing supply.

(You can track the status of JCBL’s priority bills – and help the JCBL communicate those priorities to our legislators – by going to jeffcobusinesslobby.org and clicking on “Take Action” to sign up for legislative updates and alerts.)

Three efforts are underway to find a much needed increase in funding for transportation infrastructure. All eyes on are a potential ballot question in November that will ask voters to approve higher sales taxes for roads. Meanwhile, the Legislature will have to decide how much, if any, of an unexpected state revenue surplus will go to transportation. That decision won’t be made until late in the session. Also, the Senate Republican majority have made a proposal to dedicate a portion of state sales tax revenue to pay back $3.5 billion in road bonds their top legislative priority – SB001.  JeffCo Rep. Tim Leonard and Sen. Tim Neville have introduced a similar measure (HB1119) and the JCBL is supporting both bills. In fact, we support an “all of the above” approach to road funding.

The JCBL has also been reviewing a large number of bills to help Colorado’s business train and retain skilled talent. For example, the JCBL is supporting bills creating tax credits for childcare expenses (HB1004), requiring more information be sent to high schoolers and their parents about college credit that can be earned in high school (HB1005 – JeffCo Rep. Brittany Petterson), and funding the construction of career and technical education facilities (HB1034).

Affordable housing for new and current employees is also a priority for the JeffCo business community.  No new legislation addressing the construction litigation crisis in condos is expected, but the JCBL is supporting a bill to extend the existing low income housing tax credit (SB007), while opposing some misguided attempts such as imposing a tax on plastic bags (HB1054) and real estate transactions (SB006) to fund affordable housing.

The JCBL is also supporting a number of bills to reduce tax and regulatory burdens on businesses. A multi-year effort to simplify Colorado’s notoriously difficult sales tax system may take a major step forward with legislation to help create a state-wide simplified sales tax reporting system (HB1022, with an all-JeffCo lineup of sponsors – Representatives Lang Sias and Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Senators Cheri Jahn and Tim Neville).

Other pro-business bills supported by the JCBL include one to reduce business personal property taxes (HB1036 – Rep. Tim Leonard and Sen. Tim Neville); another to permit small businesses to “cure” minor regulatory paperwork infractions without a fine (HB1113 – Sen. Tim Neville); and, one to permanently extend the requirement that state regulators do a cost-benefit analysis before finalizing new regulations (HB1237 – Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Tim Neville).

Lastly, JeffCo legislators are also leading the charge on several economic development measures supported by the JCBL. Those include: reforming Colorado’s business income tax sourcing method to attract more national companies to Colorado (HB1185 – Rep, Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Sen. Tim Neville); extending the important Advanced Industry Export Acceleration program (HB1135 – Rep. Tracy Kraft Tharp); and, creating sales tax exemptions for on-demand air carriers important to our regional airport (HB1083 – Reps. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Lang Sias)

Again, you can find the status of all of the JCBL bills at jeffcobusinesslobby.org. While you are there, sign up for regular updates under the “Take Action” icon. Lastly, please mark your calendars for the JCBL Day at the Capitol on March 6th from 8-11am.

The Jefferson County Business Lobby is the united voice of JeffCo businesses at the Colorado State Capitol.  The JCBL is a partnership comprised of the Arvada, Evergreen, Golden, West Metro, Westminster and Wheat Ridge Chambers of Commerce, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation and the Applewood and Wheat Ridge Business Associations.

28th Annual Good News Breakfast

JeffCo at Work: Providing Pathways for a Changing World

Jefferson County Fairgrounds
15200 West 6th Avenue  Golden, CO 80401
Date: April 24, 2018
Time 6:59 AM to 8:29 AM

Reserve your seats today!

Be part of the celebration and attend the 28th annual Good News Coalition Breakfast.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR BREAKFAST!

Hear the good news and help honor those who make Jefferson County a better place to live!
$15.00/person
Includes breakfast provided by Warren Tech Restaurant

Hosted by Good News Breakfast Coalition

April Speaker: Patrick Goff

Topic: State of the City


PATRICK GOFF, WHEAT RIDGE CITY MANAGER

Patrick Goff has served Wheat Ridge for a total of 14 years. He was appointed to the City Manager’s position in June of 2010, and previously served as the Deputy City Manager and Administrative Services. Other public sector positions Mr. Goff has held include Interim City Administrator and Assistant to the City Administrator/Human Resources Coordinator for the City of Sheridan, Colorado and Management Intern for the City of Westminster, Colorado.

Mr. Goff received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. He received Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Affairs from the University of Nebraska.

RSVP for this meeting >>

Make Your Voice Heard!

WRBA is a member of the Jefferson County Business Lobby (JCBL). JCBL’s membership includes chambers of commerce and economic development organizations representing thousands of businesses in Jefferson County. JCBL’s membership includes executive leaders and board members from each respective organization focused on developing positions on legislation, crafting policy, and communicating with legislators on key issues.

As a part of membership in JCBL, all members of the WRBA are offered access to a unique grassroots advocacy system called “VoterVoice”. This system allows you, the voter to be notified when important issues come up, letting you know which elected officials to contact and voice your opinion. We encourage you to visit the JCBL site and sign up to receive notifications to stay informed. Many of issues you will be notified of pertain to you, the business owners of Jefferson County. This is a unique opportunity to collectively create impact on the issues discussed in legislative sessions, while letting our voice heard.

Sign up to be notified

 

 

Wheat Ridge Feed the Future Bagging Days at Stevens Elementary

Wheat Ridge Business Association members are invited to help fill bags for students at Stevens Elementary School the first Thursdays and any 5th Thursdays. Please check in at the main office and they will direct you to the cafeteria.

2017-18 Dates: Sep. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, Jan. 4, Feb. 1, Mar. 1,  Mar. 29, Apr. 5, May 3,
Starts at: 8:25 am, Ends at: 9:05 am
Cost: Free
Pre-registration required? No

Location: Stevens Elementary School
Address: 7101 W. 38th Ave, Wheat Ridge 80033

Contact: Cheryl Brungardt 303-425-0230 cherylbrungardt@gmail.com

*If you can’t volunteer, donations may be sent to Wheat Ridge Foundation, For Wheat Ridge Feed the Future.

JCBL Update – March

JCBL Legislative Update: Bi-Partisan Transportation Compromise Emerges

By Jeff Weist
Jefferson County Business Lobby

The Jefferson County Business Lobby and [NAME OF JCBL MEMBER] have made ending the state’s transportation funding crisis one of our top priorities in the Colorado Legislature for 2017.  With this legislative session half over, major progress toward that goal was made recently with the introduction of a large, bi-partisan funding plan.

The plan (HB17-1242) – which the JCBL is supporting – is centered on a 20-year increase in the state sales tax (from 2.9% to 3.52%).  A portion of that new revenue would be used to service $3.5 billion in bonds to immediately address the state’s most pressing transportation needs. But roughly $300 million in revenue from the sales tax increase would go to local governments and transit projects annually.

In order to garner Republican support of a tax increase, however, the bill also requires the state general fund to pay for the first $50 million in annual bond payments, something the Democrats have traditionally resisted. And the bill also cuts registration fees by $75 million to help offset some of the sales tax hike.

While the compromise is the result of many months of negotiations between the two parties – each of whom control a chamber in the legislature – this is far from a done deal. Most importantly, the plan must be approved by the voters in the November, 2017, election, and Colorado voters have a long history of defeating tax increases.

But before it can even get to the voters this Fall, it must survive the legislative process, where opponents on both the left and right are emerging. Some conservatives oppose a tax increase for transportation – at least one that is not fully offset by tax or spending cuts elsewhere. Meanwhile, some transit advocates aren’t pleased with the amount of new funding that is dedicated to transit and mobility projects.

Labeled “work in progress” on the day of its introduction, HB1242 will likely see changes before it is referred to voters for approval.  The JCBL believes, however, that this bill represents the best chance in a at least a decade to make real progress on fixing Colorado’s increasingly congested and deteriorating road and highway system.

In other legislative news, three bills supported by the JCBL advanced in committee after testimony from JCBL witnesses, including a key construction litigation reform bill (SB156), an extension of an economic development tax credit for advanced industries (HB1090) and an extension of a tax credit for child care expenses which helps working families stay in the workforce (HB1002).

 

Please go to www.jeffcobusinesslobby.org to see all of the bills the JCBL is lobbying at the Colorado State Capitol and to sign up for news updates on bills important to the Jefferson County business community.

Jeff Weist can be contacted at jeff@weistcapitol.com

JCBL Update – February

JCBL Legislative Update: Transportation and Housing Costs Dominate Talks Under the Golden Dome

 By Jeff Weist

Jefferson County Business Lobby

The Wheat Ridge Business Association and the Jefferson County Business Lobby agree the Colorado Legislature’s top priorities for the 2017 legislative session should be fixing the state’s transportation funding crisis and the construction litigation abuses that have contributed to a lack of affordable housing options. And, in fact, those two topics have dominated discussions at the highest levels of leadership in both the Democrat-controlled State House of Representatives and the Republican State Senate.

Colorado’s frenetic growth has lead to record unmet transportation needs as congestion worsens and maintenance lags behind. Colorado is one of the few states not spending general funds on roads, instead relying almost exclusively on declining state and federal gas tax revenues. One emerging proposal with a chance for bi-partisan support would dedicate an increase in the state’s sales tax to transportation. Some portion of the increased sales tax revenue could be used to issue bonds to front-load construction spending in the near term. But a number of contentious issues still need to be worked out. How much of the additional revenue should be dedicated to transit versus pavement? Will the gas tax be reduced to mitigate some of the impact of increasing the sales tax? Will the voters even approve such tax increase? Those and other issues have yet to be resolved and could scuttle any potential deal.

Another impact of Colorado’s strong growth is quickly rising home prices. While affordable condos and other multi-family housing units often provide a more attainable option for many, very few such units have been built in Colorado over the last decade because of out-of-control lawsuits against developers and contractors. As a result, insurance for such projects are often unaffordable or even unavailable. A number of bills – some with bi-partisan support – have been floated. Some attempt to speed the resolution of such lawsuits through arbitration, while another seeks to reduce contractor insurance rates by streamlining the costly defense process in a lawsuit. The only thing clear at this point is that no one bill will solve this very complicated problem.  But the legislature does have a chance to take a few small steps forward in 2017.

Jeff Weist can be contacted at jeff@weistcapitol.com

JCBL Legislative Update – January

Bipartisan agreement on problems, but not necessarily on solutions

 By Jeff Weist

Jefferson County Business Lobby

The Wheat Ridge Business Association is an active member of the Jefferson County Business Lobby, the unified voice of 3,000 Jefferson County businesses advocating for public policies that strengthen our economy. We wanted to give you a preview of some of the business issues on which the JCBL is engaging at the State Capitol in Denver as the 2017 Colorado General Assembly gets underway.

The dynamics of the Legislature will, for the third year in a row, be dominated by split partisan control.  Democrats retained control the State House of Representatives while the Republicans hang onto their slim one seat majority in the State Senate. Split control means both parties have to work together to accomplish anything of significance.

Remarkable agreement exists between the Democrats and Republicans on the major problems facing the state – such as inadequate transportation funding and escalating housing costs – but finding agreement on the solutions to such problems have been elusive.

The JCBL’s priorities for the coming year include:

New Transportation Funding: Colorado is one of the few states in the nation not dedicating state General Fund dollars to transportation infrastructure. The Colorado Legislature must find new sources of transportation funding for the short, medium and long-terms.

Attracting and Retaining Skilled Employees: The shortage of skilled employees in Jefferson County and around the State is actually becoming a drag on economic growth. Colorado needs better training for skilled employees. And we need to fix the broken litigation system that is preventing the construction of new, affordable, housing.

Fostering a Strong, Competitive Business Climate: While Jefferson County’s economy is strong today, the Legislature must provide effective economic development incentives, lower regulatory burdens and reduce lawsuits if we are to withstand future downturns.

We will keep you updated on the Legislature’s progress on these important business issues through out the 2017 legislative session.

Jeff Weist can be contacted at jeff@weistcapitol.com

Congratulations to Member of the Year and Rising Star Award Winners 2016!

Bud Starker, the owner and Robert Cherenzia, General Manager of West 29th Restaurant ~ Bar Accepting the Business of the Year Award

Bud Starker, the owner and Robert Cherenzia, General Manager of West 29th Restaurant ~ Bar Accepting the Business of the Year Award

City of Wheat Ridge held the 13th Annual Business Award Breakfast on Tuesday, September 27. Wheat Ridge Business Association (WRBA) co-sponsored the event and many remarkable businesses were recognized in it. Among them, WRBA awarded the “Member of the Year Award” to Bud Starker of West 29th Restaurant ~Bar and the “Rising Star Award” to Mike Larkin of Larkin And Associates. Congratulations to the winners and thank you for your involvement in our business community.

Other Award Winners and Nominees are:

Cultural Commission Award – Blu Iron Photography
Nominees – Clancy’s Irish Pub, Four Seasons Farmers & Artisans Market

City Council’s Partnership Award – Wheat Ridge Active Transportation & Advisory Team

Mayor’s Award – Kevin Robb Studios

Reinvestment Award – Creative Learning Center & hOMe Collective
Nominees – Lutheran Medical Center, Morningstar Assisted Living, Pierogies Factory, Wazee Partners

Business of the Year – Lil Nick’s & West 29 Restaurant ~ Bar
Nominees – Colorado Plus, Comcast of Wheat Ridge, Discount Tires, EduCyber, FirstBank of Wheat Ridge, Harriet’s Treadle Arts, Heinie’s Market, Iron Rail Tavern, Mama Sanninos, Mighty Joe’s Kitchen, Right Coast Pizza, Sprouts Farmers Market, Vinyl Works, Vitruvian Fitness, Westridge Veterinary Hospital, Wheat Ridge poultry, Young’s Market

Congratulations!!

Business Community of Wheat Ridge filled the great room at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center

Business Community of Wheat Ridge filled the great room at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center