Upcoming Events


Holiday Fundraising Drive for Feeding the Future

Spread the Generosity for this Holiday Season – WRBA is collecting cash & online donations for Feeding the Future Backpack Program to support our school-age children in need. Money will be collected at BOTH November meeting and December Holiday Luncheon. Donate online from THIS LINK. WRBA will match the total donation up to $500.

To donate online, please click THIS LINK >>

 

 

 

JCBL: 2020 Election Summary

By Jeff Weist, Jefferson County Business Lobby

November 6, 2020 Download this report in PDF >>

While the country awaits a final decision in the US Presidential race, the Jefferson County Business Lobby wanted to share with you a brief summary of the Colorado results, focusing mostly on state-level races, and their implications for our clients.

Colorado voters again led the country in turn-out, with a record 3.3 million votes and a 78% ballot return rate. That ranks Colorado in the top 5 nationally. Unaffiliated voters — the largest block of voters in Colorado — again returned far more ballots than either Democrat or Republican voters. Maybe most telling, U’s increased their turn-out almost 40% over 2016, whereas R and D turn-out was on par. Democrats jumped out to a huge (200,000+) early lead in mail ballot returns. Republican voters eventually caught up and beat Democrat turn-out, however, at least as a percentage of each party’s registered voters.

Colorado polling for the top-of-the-ticket races seemed remarkably on target, compared to the huge polling misses — worse even than in 2016 — that we saw nationally. Both Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper maintained consistent leads in every reputable Colorado poll from the primaries on. Some polls predicted that Biden would significantly outperform Hickenlooper in Colorado – counting on many traditional conservatives voting against the President, but preferring to maintain a balance of power in the US Senate. That turned out to be more or less the case, with Senator Gardner outperforming Trump by about 4 points, but not nearly enough to overcome the President’s drag.

Despite much anticipation of Democratic gains in both the US Senate and Colorado Senate, the make-up of federal and state legislative chambers didn’t change drastically. Party control stayed the same at both levels, with only a few net seats changing hands. That seems somewhat remarkable here in Colorado given the Democrats’ lopsided victory at the top of the ticket. After a very successful 2018 election, the Democrats in Colorado have likely taken about all of the seats they could reasonably expect given the state’s lack of truly competitive districts.

As in the 2018 Blue Wave election, voters again demonstrated a streak of fiscal conservatism when it came to ballot questions, despite overwhelming wins for the Democrats at the top of the ticket. Voters approved two widely-opposed measures on the ballot restricting revenue to the state. More on that below.

 

Colorado State Senate

Democrats capitalized on an anti-Trump Blue Wave election in 2018 to recapture the Colorado State Senate, giving them unified control of state government. Five Senate seats (three Republican and two Democrat) were seemingly in play in 2020. Democrat Senators Jeff Bridges and Rachel Zenzinger rather easily fended off their Republican challengers. The three Republican seats, however, were much closer. Senator Rankin and Senator Priola eked out wins against heavy spending and odds, while Senator Jack Tate’s open seat was flipped by Democrat Chris Kolker.

The Senate Democrats, therefore, will start the 2021 legislative session with a 20-15 majority; a net gain of one seat.

 

Colorado House of Representatives

Colorado House Democrats came out of the 2018 election with a 41-24 majority, not far from a two-thirds veto-proof supermajority. Given the highly gerrymandered nature of Colorado State Legislative seats, and the fact that the political climate hasn’t changed dramatically since 2018, there was not a lot of room for either party to advance the ball. The Democrats were defending three close seats to the Republicans’ one. The result was no net gain for either side, as the Republicans and Democrats each lost one seat. Representative Buentello from Pueblo lost her seat while recently-appointed Republican Representative Champion lost his. Vulnerable first-term Democrat Representatives Cutter and Titone held off challengers in their races and increased their margins from 2018. A late charge against Republican Representatives Van Winkle and Larson didn’t pan out, but their margins suffered relative to previous years. The national wave of traditionally Republican suburban seats trending more Blue was clearly at play in many of these races.

The House Democrats will start the 2021 legislative session with the same 41-24 majority.

 

Ballot measures

Amendment B – Gallagher Repeal

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, Amendment B sailed to victory with a 15 point margin. Leading up to the election, polling on the issue had been consistently too close to call. With its passage, the residential assessment rate will be frozen at 7.15% (barring a vote of the people to raise it). Further, with the commercial assessment rate now taken out of the Constitution, there is some faint hope that the Legislature will someday lower it from the current 29%.

 

Proposition EE – Nicotine Tax

Coloradans LOVE sin taxes. That’s the take away from EE’s almost 36 point margin of victory. The measure is projected to raise $87 million in FY20-21, $177 million in FY21-22, and rising to $278 million in FY27-28 when the tax increase maxes out.

 

Proposition 116 – Income Tax Cut

Prop 116, which cuts Colorado’s state income tax from 4.63% to 4.55%, passed with 57% of the vote. It will save most professionals $100-$200 per year in state income tax, and will cost the state $154 million dollars, almost zeroing out the nicotine tax increase in the near term.

 

Proposition 117 – Requiring Voter Approval of Enterprise Fees

The creation of state enterprises to levy fees for service has been the Legislature’s primary tool for finding new revenue for programs since TABOR was passed. (Fees currently make up about 20% of the state’s revenue.) Prop 117, which passed with just over a 5% margin, will curtail that practice by requiring new fee-funded enterprises to be approved by the vote of the people. The measure is statutory, so the Legislature could technically change it in the future. That scenario is unlikely, however, as they will feel tremendous pressure not to flout obvious voter sentiment.

 

Proposition 118 – Creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

As predicted, Prop 118 passed by a wide, 14% margin, garnering surprisingly significant bi-partisan support. The NO campaign was successful in whittling the margin down from the original 20% polling advantage, but there just wasn’t much that could have been done to defeat it. Premiums will be collected beginning in 2023, and benefits will be available beginning 2024. Expect to hear more from us on FAMLI in the future.

 

Bottom line: While the passage of Props 116 and 117 will benefit businesses and business owners, the resulting decreases in state revenues, especially in light of Colorado’s current budget shortfalls related to the pandemic, will put more pressure on the Legislature to find alternative methods of funding their top priorities. We will be watching for roll-backs of tax credits, mandates on businesses, and new private rights of action (as opposed to administrative remedies) as enforcement mechanisms.

 

Leadership Races

State House and Senate Leadership races were held in three of the four caucuses on Thursday, with House Republicans holding their elections next Monday. Leadership in the Senate Democrat remained relatively stable, with Senators Leroy Garcia and Steve Fenberg returning as President and Majority Leader, respectively. Significantly, Senator Chris Hansen will replace Senator Rachel Zenzinger on the Joint Budget Committee. Republican Senators Chris Holbert and John Cooke were likewise rewarded with reelection to their posts as Minority Leader and Assistant Minority Leader.

As expected, Majority Leader Alec Garnett was chosen to replace KC Becker as Speaker of the House. Representative Daneya Esgar was elevated to Majority Leader. Her replacement on the Joint Budget Committee will be appointed by the Speaker at a later date.

 

Conclusion

From a numbers’ perspective, the Colorado State Legislature will look very much the same in 2021 as it did in 2020. From a qualitative perspective, however, the polarization in the electorate continues to be reflected in who they send to the Legislature. Each party certainly has their share of moderates, but both seem equally likely to continue the slow drift toward their respective ideological poles.

The overriding theme of the upcoming session will be the pandemic. Despite the faster-than-expected recovery in the state economy, budget decisions will likely be almost as painful as earlier this year, when roughly one-third of the budget had to be cut. This is due in part to the recent ballot initiatives and in part to the reality that FY20-21 cuts were mitigated by one-time accounting tricks that won’t be available this year. Nevertheless, the Governor and legislators will be looking for ways to stimulate the economy through new investment in infrastructure, transfer payments, and benefits.

Despite facing significant losses in revenue due to the pandemic, and dealing with multiple new employer mandates passed in the last legislative session, businesses should continue to expect to see the costs and complexities of additional social welfare programs shifted to them. New taxes and fees for businesses will also be very much on the table.

In closing, we should note that decennial elections are always critical, because of the census and reapportionment process that follows. Colorado voters in 2018 took much of the power to draw districts away from the politicians, however, with Amendments Y and Z. It is an untested process, but one that promises to bring more competitive seats, which we should all regard as a good thing. By the time the 2022 elections roll around, we will have a whole new set of district maps, at both the state and federal level.

Thank you, as always, for your continuing confidence and trust in Weist Capitol Group. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like any additional information about the election.

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The Jefferson County Business Lobby advocates as the unified voice of 3,000 Jefferson County businesses for public policies that strengthen our business climate. 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, the Applewood and Wheat Ridge Business Associations and the Alameda Connects BID.

 

Holiday Luncheon 2020

*** This event will be held virtually. Please RSVP from the link and we will send you the access information. ***

Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Time: 11:00am-12:45pm
Location: Held virtually on the computer near you!
Cost: Free for WRBA members, $10 for non-members

Speaker: Brad Montgomery, Motivational Keynote Speaker
                Creating Cultures Where People Matter More

Title: Embrace Your Awesomeness – It’s all about the people

Program includes – Annual Member Awards (WRBA Member of the Year & Rising Star), Trivia quiz with fabulous prizes!

View/Download your invitation from HERE

About the presentation:

Knowing that our people are our most valuable asset isn’t enough. We need to fully understand how to empower and inspire them. Brad Montgomery will use humor, stories, music, and other tools to illustrate ways to improve our ability to meaningfully encourage others. Discover ways to achieving untapped productivity and accuracy while creating and sustaining positivity, optimism, and meaningfulness in others. Focusing on the people side of business not only improves the bottom line, it can be enormously satisfying, inspiring, and sometimes very funny.

Brad’s talk is Fun. REALLY Fun. Brad believes that if your people aren’t listening, it doesn’t matter what we tell them. And, we all know that people learn best when they are laughing.

RSVP to attend virtually >>

 

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Spread the Generosity this Holiday Season

We support Feeding the Future Backpack Program to help the school-age children in our community in need. Donate Online between TODAY and December 31 from the link below and the WRBA will match the total donation up to $500.

Donate online >>

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Host the 2020 Holiday Luncheon Live Streaming at your office!

2020 is an incredibly unique year for all of us, but we still want to celebrate the Holiday season together somehow. We will be broadcasting the presentation via GoToWebinar – if you will be joining us, great! Please also consider this…

We invite you, our member, to host a live streaming party at your office with your staff or your small circle of colleagues. How does this work?

You will need:

  • Register ahead as Live Streaming Host for the Holiday Luncheon from the form below
  • Put together your own group
  • A computer or computers with the internet access
  • Food & beverage for your party (have it catered or order takeout)

We will provide:

  • A celebration event with nationally renowned speaker, Brad Montgomery and his fun and uplifting presentation titled “Embrace Your Awesomeness – It’s all about the people”
  • WRBA Member of the Year and Rising Star Awards will be presented to the 2020 winners
  • Please register as “Live Streaming Host” for the event, and we will include your logo in the PowerPoint and acknowledge your business as one of our hosts during the event. If you send us your photo of your party (marketing@wheatridgebiz.com), we will share it on the WRBA Facebook page and Instagram afterwards.

There is no cost to register you as a host of the Live Streaming Holiday Luncheon. This is one of the ways we can virtually ‘get together’ and celebrate with you as the Wheat Ridge Business Association.

You must be a current member of the WRBA in good standing to host the live streaming event and be recognized during the meeting. If you are not a member, we invite you to join the WRBA to become one or register as a guest (virtual for non-member is $10. After you register online, you will receive your access information via email if virtual option is selected.)

Host a Live Streaming Party

  • We will send you your access information for the event. If you need multiple access (you are hosting it virtually with multiple locations), please let us know how many access you need and the email addresses to send the access info.

  • We will send you access information separately
  • Please separate each email address with a comma (,). Each access information needs to have different email address.
  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png.

Thanks to Holiday Luncheon Sponsors!

                                                 

 

 

 

 

Shop Local Shop Wheat Ridge

Bringing our community together and joining our efforts to create something great is what the WRBA is all about. Through our partnerships with City of Wheat Ridge, Localworks, and Wheat Ridge Chamber, we are launching this city-wide campaign to remind everyone to shop with our neighbors first. This poster will be displayed at every bus shelters in Wheat Ridge to invite them to visit our website:

WheatRidgeBiz.com

to learn more about our member businesses and shop with them.

WRBA members – be sure to update your member profile and update them often. Post Smokin’ Deals and post your community events so people know you are here! Please visit this link for your step-by-step instructions on how to do that. This is a part of your member benefits and our effort to help your marketing dollars go even further.

Special thanks to the City of Wheat Ridge and its staff for your outstanding efforts in supporting and promoting local businesses. Funding from CARES Act was applied for this campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Know How the Current Issues are Affecting Your Business through JCBL

Jefferson County Business Lobby (JCBL) is a partnership of area Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations in Jefferson County, Colorado. We work together in order to create a larger representation of our local business community. JCBL works with a lobbyist to focus on business-related issues so we can learn any changes that impact our business and act upon them as needed.

We receive periodical updates from JCBL if there are any legislative issues that pertains to our business. You can also receive updates by signing up to their email list from THIS LINK. All members are strongly encouraged to sign up TODAY.

Please click HERE to see past updates >>

 

 

Our Patron Members

Since joining the WRBA, I have made some of the best connections for my business! The sense of community, support, customers and friendships I’ve made have been invaluable to my business.

Emily Green, Owner, Cibo Meals
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