2008 Business Ballot Guide

No Poison Pills

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce works tirelessly to create a competitive environment that attracts companies and jobs to the region and keeps them here. Currently, there are four labor initiatives on the November ballot that are devastating to Colorado’s businesses, both large and small, that threaten Colorado’s economic viability and our economic competitive position.

Amendments 53, 55, 56, and 57 are “poison pill amendments” designed to punish local businesses and create havoc in the workplace.
These deceptively worded proposals do not offer solutions to any problems. However, if adopted, they will bring serious unintended consequences like lower wages, lost benefits and lawsuit abuse that will hurt our workers and cripple our economy.
Coloradans for Responsible Reform (CFRR) is a political issues committee established in 1994 to fight anti-business ballot issues and support proactive economic development measures.

Amendment 53 – Criminal Accountability for Business Executives

Amendment 53 may negatively impact a business climate in which most businesses and their executives comply with the law. For example, the new criminal penalties could drive higher insurance costs for law-abiding executives, which may ultimately be passed along to consumers. Additionally, fear of prosecution could hinder recruitment of top business talent and may leave community leaders reluctant to serve on nonprofit boards.

Amendment 55 – Allowable Reasons for Employee Discharge or Suspension

This measure may hurt the people it is intended to help by discouraging employers from hiring full-time employees. To avoid the new requirements, employers may be inclined to convert full-time employees to part-time employees or to hire independent contractors instead of regular full-time employees. Such responses by employers would adversely affect both the employed and those seeking work.

Amendment 56 – Employer Responsibility for Health Insurance

Amendment 56 places a new financial burden on businesses that may result in higher costs, lost jobs, and an increase in the price for goods and services.  Additionally, companies may be discouraged from locating in Colorado. All these factors could slow growth and damage the state’s economy. The measure removes the flexibility employers currently have to offer benefits that are within a company’s budget while meeting the needs of their employees. Amendment 56 may ultimately hurt employees. Businesses are likely to decrease employees’ wages, bonuses, or other benefits in order to offset increased health care costs. Due to the requirement that employers pay 70 percent of the costs for family-health coverage, the measure could result in discrimination against hiring individuals with families.

Amendment 57 – Additional Remedies for Injured Employees

Amendment 57 is unnecessary. The current workers’ compensation system effectively balances the needs of employees and employers. It ensures prompt delivery of benefits to injured employees without the delay, expense, and risk involved with a lawsuit and controls costs for employers. Amendment 57 disrupts this balance by requiring employers to continue to pay for workers’ compensation benefits and making them subject to lawsuits from injured employees seeking additional benefits.

Moreover, employers are already motivated to provide safe and healthy workplaces to comply with safety regulations, lower costs for worker replacement and insurance
premiums, and increase employee productivity.