Opinion: An open letter to Colorado lawmakers from Colorado Concern

Dear Legislative Leaders,

This session has been far from typical. The Colorado of January is all but unrecognizable today and your willingness to remain engaged, and work for the betterment of our state, is greatly appreciated.

Many priorities have needed to be set aside because we no longer have the money to fund them or the time to debate them — this is a sword that has cut both ways. 

Your actions in the next few weeks will set the tone for Colorado’s recovery. The bills that get passed must meet a higher and narrower standard than before.

Mike Kopp, President & CEO of Colorado Concern

They must work to both protect the health and safety of Coloradans and rebuild our economy for the benefit of all. That is all. For the sake of our economy and, in turn, revenue needed for future state budgets, you must not stray from that framework.

Colorado Concern and our 130-plus business leaders stand ready to engage with the legislature to overcome this crisis. We are in this together and should be solving these problems together. Unfortunately, many of the bills being introduced, and ideas being drafted, are one-sided and counterproductive.

We have a shared stake in an economy that is safe and open. While these visions are not mutually exclusive, they do take finesse. They take partnership. 

Given the tremendous impact the pandemic has had on industries across Colorado, delivering additional financial pressures or administrative burdens to businesses will only make it more difficult for our business owners to get their doors open and put Coloradans back to work.

The best way to address the crisis is to focus narrowly on specific crisis-relief measures that help businesses safely keep more of their valued workers employed. Many of the measures being introduced and ideas being drafted, while surely well-intended, don’t do that. 

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These measures, which include paid sick leave and a new right of private action for employees among others, should be set aside. Instead we should prioritize initiatives like Sen. Jack Tate’s liability protection effort and Rep. Shannon Bird’s small business loan program.

These collaborative bills show what is possible when the business community and the legislature work together to rebuild our economy and, in turn, our state budget.

Together we should focus on legislation that stimulates our fragile economy and encourages businesses to reopen, rehire and begin the difficult task of rebuilding our state’s economy.

That is the road to recovery. Put simply, bills that introduce new regulatory burdens and undermine that recovery should be avoided. Now is the time to incentivize business activity — indeed it is the only way out of this crisis. 

Mike Kopp is President & CEO of Colorado Concern, an alliance of business executives.

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