Buzz & Bulletin

Advocating for the resources you need right now

Our business community is facing unprecedented challenges in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. While you work to pivot your operations to comply with social distancing, changes to your customer base, and interruptions in supply chains, we’re advocating for the resources you need from government partners.

In the near term, our immediate focus is financial resources and regulatory relief to ensure businesses can maintain continuity and pay their bills. Based on survey input and dozens of one-on-one discussions with members, we know cash flow is an issue, so we’re working with various partners to make loans and grants available quickly and secure more time for paying taxes. Taking care of employees is another highly-rated concern, so we’re emphasizing unemployment insurance funding and staffing.

We’ve also asked local and state officials to refrain from issuing ‘shelter in place’ orders. Businesses and individuals are responding to recommended social distancing and self-isolation measures and coming up with creative ways to deliver goods and services and stay in touch. A complete shutdown would cause further economic damage to our cities and state, as well as to the morale and can-do spirit Coloradans must maintain to continue to respond productively to this crisis.

Here’s an overview of aid currently available or in the works at various levels of government:

Local

Our asks:

  • Waive penalties for sales tax filings that are late.
  • Accommodate short-term parking needs for restaurants offering take-out service.

Current status:

  • Parking meters in downtown and Old Colorado City are free until April 30.

State

Our asks:

  • Waive penalties for sales and use tax filings that are late.
  • Waive state sales tax on non-essential food preparation items, and issue emergency rules to allow restaurants to sell wine and beer with takeout orders.
  • Continue to add staff and technological capacity to the unemployment office to aid workers in filing and promptly receiving benefits.

Current status:

  • Governor Polis has directed the Department of Revenue to work with local governments on delaying sales, use, and property tax payments.
  • The deadline to file income tax has been extended for businesses and individuals to July 15 without penalty.
  • The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment added 90 staffers to its unemployment-insurance customer call center this week and plans to add another 90 by April 3. Later this week, the department will also implement a system whereby applicants can file forms only on certain days, determined by the first letter of their last names.
  • The Governor has formed a statewide economic recovery task force. We have nominated five local business leaders to the group.
  • Takeout wine and beer sales approved.

Federal

Our asks:

  • Increase funds and shorten the processing time for Small Business Administration loans. Include provisions for forgiving loans if businesses meet certain criteria.
  • Increase funds and shorten the processing time for unemployment insurance.
  • Support funding for the Economic Development Agency to ensure long-term recovery.
  • Include nonprofit employers as eligible for aid.

Current status:

  • Tax credits are available to employers who provide paid leave, as well as those who are self-employed. Payments will not be subject to employer-paid payroll taxes.
  • Congress has authorized more than $1 billion for states to process and pay unemployment.
  • Congress is negotiating an additional $1.5 trillion aid package that would include forgivable payroll loans, tax credits that can be advanced to businesses before they even submit their taxes, billions of dollars in aid to hospitals, the airline industry, and others, and block grants to states.

Read a complete list of provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Act, including paid leave employers are now required to pay, here. In addition, Lewis Roca Rothgerber and Christie include guidance on the expanded family and medical leave act under the Families First Coronavirus Act here.

Listen to our telephone town hall with Senator Cory Gardner on March 23 here.

“While the public-health crisis will touch many of us…the economic crisis will touch all of us. And we want to get, to the extent possible, ahead of that to make sure that the thoughtful actions that we’re taking allow job creation in Colorado to recover and thrive.”
Governor Jared Polis, Colorado

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