DENVER, Colo., June 13, 2016—Last Friday’s deadline for Gov. John Hickenlooper to act on legislation sent to him the by the Colorado General Assembly has left in its wake three bills now law that the state’s leading small-business association today praised the state’s chief executive for signing.
“We have never been shy about voicing our disagreements with the governor, and, equally, not shy about giving him credit when it’s deserved,” said Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent. “Governor Hickenlooper’s signing of three bills into law is praiseworthy for the healthy effect they’ll have on small businesses in the state and job-creation in general.”
One new law in particular was long overdue, according to Gagliardi. Senate Bill 179 essentially shifts the state Department of Labor’s mentality from an enforcement attitude to a compliance-assisting role, which will prove helpful to thousands of independent contractors. Five years ago, software giant Intuit took a crystal ball look
10 years into the future and predicted that contingent workers, or independent contractors, would exceed 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020.
In another very important victory for small businesses, Governor Hickenlooper also signed Senate Bill 036 into law, giving small-business owners access to due process when appealing a sales tax audit opinion by the Department of Revenue. Currently, should one desire to appeal an audit decision to the district court level, there is a requirement in which the total amount of the DOR’s audit decision, including penalties and interest, be deposited in escrow with the director of the Department of Revenue, or a bond be posted for twice the amount owed to DOR. SB 036 removes all the requirements of deposit for appeal at the district court level. The effect of SB 036 will be that businesses will no longer be forced into settlements pertaining to a sales tax audit because the business owner cannot afford to post the amount owed upfront or the expense to post a bond for twice the amount owed. Senate Bill 036 passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.
A third bill signed by the governor removes a needless, time-consuming paperwork headache. House Bill 1114, sponsored by NFIB-member Rep. Brian DelGrosso eliminates the requirement for employers in the state to file an Affirmation of Legal Work Status form with the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment after completing and filing an I-9 form with the federal government. All the affirmation form does is prove to the state that you filed the required form with the feds. The state form was an absolute waste of time for all parties involved, being as it was an exact duplicate of questions asked on the Federal I-9 form.
For a fuller list of small-business victories, including defeats of bad legislation, coming out of the 2015-2016 session of the Colorado General Assembly, click here.
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
National Federation of Independent Business/Colorado
1580 Logan St. Suite 520
Denver, CO 80203