Governor John Hickenlooper signed a number of small business measures that have potential effects on company operations. Business leaders believe the Colorado Business Legislation improves the state’s business atmosphere. Several of the bills deal with employer-employee issues. They include the following.
Brian DelGrosso, House Majority Leader, sponsored House Bill 1114 that eliminates duplicate reporting requirements. Federal government requirements mandate employers to attest to the verification of an employee’s legal work status by submitting documentation within 20 days of hiring. According to DelGrosso, to have a state form that mirrors the federal form is the sort of redundancy Republicans wanted to eliminate this session.
Ellen Roberts, a Republican senator from Durango, and Rollie Heath, a Democrat from Boulder, sponsored SB 179. The bill requires the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to clarify how employers distinguish between full-time employees and contractors. In recent years, companies incurred fines for confusion that led to mis-classification of workers.
One of the session’s most successful compromise measure was House Bill 1432. The bill, sponsored by Faith Winter, a Democrat for Westminster, allows employees access to personnel files only once a year. Backers and business leaders worked to make requirements that caused the idea to die in previous sessions, less distressing for employers and eliminated clauses that allowed workers to file suit when requests did not receive a prompt response.
The governor also signed SB 203, sponsored by a Republican from Colorado Springs, Kent Lambert. The bill requires the State Auditor’s Office to make regular reviews of the approximately $4.6 billion of awarded tax credits to individuals and companies. Reviews are to ensure the purposes of the tax credits accomplish what they intend. The Colorado Fiscal Institute and the National Federation of Independent Business worked on the measure to ensure the tax credits, which came under fire, work.
The audits are in place to determine if exemptions, credits, and tax deductions create the economic activity or jobs they promise. The communications director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute, Tim Hoover, feels the audits provide valuable information even if proving accomplishments is not possible.
Two bills made passage late in the signing period. Friday, the governor, signed HB 1467, that created first-time savings accounts where first-time homeowners save for closing costs and down payments. The interest earned is tax-free. HB 1465 continues a tax-credit for low-income housing builders. The tax credit was previously successful in the creation of affordable housing units. The program aids families that struggle.
Bills that had less impact on the Colorado Business Legislation included Senate Bill 36 and HB 1187. Senators Tim Neville, A Republican from Littleton, and Cheri Jahn, a Democrat from Wheat Ridge, sponsored Senate Bill 36. It eliminated the requirement of taxpayers to pay surety bonds when appealing tax decisions made by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
A Democrat from Arvada, Tracy Kraft-Thorpe, sponsored HB 1117. It overruled a decision made by the Colorado Department of Revenue that made food prepared and served to retirement community residents subject to state use and sales tax. Kraft-Thorpe wanted to call the bill ‘Don’t tax Grandma’s meatloaf.’