Your Dedicated Pro-Business Advocate
The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC believes in the power of a collective voice. We work on your behalf to remove barriers to business, saving you money, time, and red-tape headaches. By prioritizing business owner needs, the Chamber & EDC protects our economy and increases resources available to you to grow and thrive in your work.
This year, more than 650 bills were introduced during the state legislative session, many affecting your bottom line and how you run your business. The Chamber & EDC advocates on your behalf, engaging with lawmakers and partners across the state to seek a positive business climate that allows Pikes Peak region businesses to grow and thrive, and secure a strong state economy.
House Bill 23-1091 | Continuation of Childcare Contribution Tax Credit
Legislative Summary: HB23-1091 addresses a current tax credit available for those who make monetary contributions to promote childcare within the state. The current dedication is 50% of the value of the monetary contribution. This tax credit is set to expire in 2025 but would be renewed under this legislation for an additional 3 years.
The Chamber & EDC is in support of this legislation. Employers throughout the country are facing an acute workforce shortage, and the lack of affordable childcare has been identified as a major hindrance. Measures such as this help incentivize partnerships that provide affordable childcare.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Representative Rose Pugliese, Representative Cathy Kipp, Senator Janice Marchman, Senator Janice Rich
House Bill 23-1095 | Prohibited Provisions in Rental Agreements
Legislative Summary: HB23-1095 specifically prohibits landlords from including several categories of fees and costs in rental agreements, while increasing avenues for tenants to take legal action and engage in class action lawsuits.
The Chamber & EDC is in opposition to this legislation. By limiting the ability of landlords to recover costs and exposing them to increased liability, this bill will likely result in increases in rents and decreases in the availability of rental units across the state. With a general shortage of rental units throughout our region and statewide, the Chamber & EDC opposes measures that would disincentivize landlords from providing rental units.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Representative Steven Woodrow, Representative Mandy Lindsay.
House Bill 23-1118 | Fair Workweek Employment Standards
Legislative Summary: HB23-1118, sometimes referred to as the “fair workweek” bill, sets requirements relating to the management of employee schedules, pay modifications, and hiring practices for covered employers. The bill also lowers the threshold for proof in legal complaints against employers while increasing penalties for such cases. Covered employers consist largely of restaurant and retail establishments with 250 or more employees, though several other categories of business including logistics and commercial businesses are also affected. Covered employers would be required to set employee schedules two weeks in advance and face de-facto fines in the form of “predictability pay” or “rest shortfall pay” in cases where schedules have to be adjusted on short notice. Additionally, this bill addresses hiring practices, mandating that all available hours be offered to current employees before any new employees may be hired.
The Chamber & EDC opposes this bill. This sweeping legislation ignores the reality faced by employers in the restaurant and retail industries, which often must utilize flexible schedules in order to better match customer demand. Additionally, this bill would make Colorado the second state in the nation to adopt such a widespread set of mandates. The mandates proposed are also some of the most sweeping and strict in the nation, even when compared to local municipalities with similar ordinances such as San Francisco and New York. As our businesses are recovering from the pandemic, it is not the time to hamper their ability to operate with sweeping and expensive new mandates that serve only to add liability for employers.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Representative Emily Sirota and Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Senator Julie Gonzales and Senator Faith Winter.
House Bill 23-1260 | Advanced Industry and Semiconductor Incentives
Legislative Summary: HB23-1260 modifies existing state tax incentives and expands new tax credits to help semiconductor manufacturing and related employers maximize federal government funding and incentives. The bill expands qualified enterprise zone tax credits, the Colorado job growth incentive income tax credit, and three CHIPS zone credits.
The Chamber & EDC is in support of this bill. The Chamber & EDC has been actively involved in recruiting expansion and relocation of advanced semiconductor manufacturing projects to the Pike’s Peak region, securing thousands of jobs and more than $1 billion in capital investments since 2022.The Chamber & EDC is also actively involved in advocating for expanded incentive programs at the state and federal levels to enhance Colorado’s competitiveness nationally and internationally for advanced manufacturing relocation and expansion projects.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Representative Matt Soper, Representative Alex Valdez, Senator Mark Baisley, and Senator Kevin Priola.
House Bill 23-1304 | Proposition 123 Affordable Housing Programs
Legislative Summary: HB23-1304 addresses the allocation of dollars allotted for affordable housing, homelessness mitigation, and attainable housing support under Proposition 123 which was passed in the 2022 midterm election. This legislation specifies the allotment of affordable housing dollars along with several specifically approved avenues for local government-directed spending. Additionally, the bill codifies the 3% growth and maintenance requirements of affordable housing stock for participating municipalities.
The Chamber & EDC supports this legislation. As part of the Chamber’s legislative agenda surrounding the continued growth of affordable housing supply, we specifically noted the need for a Proposition 123 legislative fix that would preserve the approved dollars from the initiative and protect them from being raided for other programs as part of the general fund. HB23-1304 broadly accomplishes this goal, designating specific programs and avenues of funding for the spending of Proposition 123 dollars. While these funds and programs alone are not sufficient to address the current shortage of housing across all income levels in Colorado, the dedication of these funds to the affordable housing market segment has the potential to help increase supply in the near future.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Representative Julie McKluskie, Representative Lisa Frizell, Senator Dylan Roberts, Senator Tony Exum
Senate Bill 23-066 | Advanced Industry Acceleration Programs
Legislative Summary: SB23-066 addresses two advanced industry acceleration programs that are set to expire; the advanced industry export acceleration program which ends in 2025, and the advanced industries acceleration grant program which ends in 2024. The bill extends both programs by 10 years. SB23-066 is a priority bill for the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
The Chamber & EDC is in support of this legislation. The incentives provided to advanced manufacturers under these programs can help make an appreciable difference in the Chamber & EDC’s economic development mission. Incentives like these can be used to make the Pike’s Peak region competitive in advanced manufacturing project attraction, such as semiconductors, in the future.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Senator Cleave Simpson, Senator Chris Hansen, Representative Shannon Bird, Representative Mike Lynch
Senate Bill 23-213 | Land Use
Legislative Summary: SB23-213 is the much-anticipated land use and housing bill, attempting to address the State’s current housing shortage. SB23-213 would move a number of land use and zoning decisions from the local level to the state level under the direction of the Department of Local Affairs (DoLA). DoLA would be required to promulgate codes that address additional density and expanded options for utilization of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and attached product such as duplexes, triplexes and up, and additional density along key corridors and transit-oriented development areas. The State would establish a multi-agency advisory committee which would be tasked with providing recommendations to DoLA’s executive director on methodologies for developing statewide, regional, and local housing needs assessments; Guidance for creating housing needs plans; developing a menu of affordability strategies; developing a menu of displacement mitigation measures; identifying strategic growth objectives; and developing reporting guidance and templates.
The Chamber & EDC is taking an amend position on this bill. The Chamber & EDC is dedicated to working with local governments and industry partners to pursue solutions to our current housing shortage, including some which tackle zoning reform at local level. However, without addressing significant changes to current construction defects laws, the economic realities of the massive liabilities currently faced by developers working to bring attached product to market at an attainable price point will continue to be a severe obstacle. Additionally, the Chamber has asked that this legislation address an option for local governments to opt-out of the requirements promulgated by DoLA when said municipalities are already moving to address local zoning issues. In the case of Colorado Springs, the city has already undertaken a lengthy and in depth process of examining where current zoning can be changed to accommodate additional density and encourage more attainable and affordable housing development. ReTool COS is substantially in line with the sponsor’s stated intent to remove regulatory restrictions on density via zoning codes, and the Chamber maintains that this should be recognized by the state and allowed to continue accordingly.
Primary Bill Sponsors: Senator Dominic Moreno, Representative Iman Jodeh, Representative Steven Woodrow.
For the full 2023 Legislative Summary, click the link below.
The Chamber & EDC evaluates policies based on the following guiding principles:
- Free markets and competition ensure high service levels, innovation, and competitive pricing.
- To ensure that taxes, fees, and regulations do not stifle a thriving economy or pose undue burden on businesses, they should be narrowly focused on strategic and necessary goals, undergo a cost/benefit analysis resulting in a positive ratio, and be easy for businesses to understand and comply with.
- Proactive economic development programs help our community attract, retain, and expand businesses that provide high-quality jobs for our residents. These jobs, in turn, improve quality of life for residents.
The Chamber & EDC will focus on Legislation falling broadly into the following categories:
- Housing: Support increasing Attainable and Affordable workforce housing stock regionally and statewide. Housing policy must support our community’s talent needs and enhance the region’s ability to compete nationally for growth opportunities. Housing policies should remove hurdles to construction and incentivize development instead of placing new costs on buyers and renters.
- Improving and Protecting the Business Climate: Work to ensure that job creators are supported with a common sense, stable and business friendly regulatory environment. We will contest unnecessary or burdensome regulation that unfairly hinders employers as they work to grow, hire and thrive in our community. Policies should be built on incentives and allow employers flexibility to implement them in a way that best fits their unique operational environments, rather than on rigid mandates and punitive fine structures. Where regulation is appropriate, we press for fair and balanced guidelines, so the business community or specific industries are not unfairly or disproportionately impacted. Regulations must be common sense and be effective, efficient, and enforceable.
- Good Governance, Efficiency and Transparency: Responsive, efficient, effective government provides the infrastructure upon which businesses grow and thrive. We must have transparent and predictable processes for licensing, inspections, and any other government requirement that would affect an employer’s operations. We are vigilant in protecting against inefficient government spending and advancing greater government accountability.
Many of the issues influencing local business are shared with our regional and state peers. The Chamber & EDC partners with organizations, governments, and coalitions across the state to identify and champion pro-business solutions. Some include: