• First, House Democrats tried to generate another $75 million for K-12 education from corporations with affiliates in countries considered to be tax havens. That failed in the Senate last month.

    Now, in what is being called a late-breaking priority bill, caucus leaders want to raise about $50 million a year to offset Medicaid spending from large companies that don’t offer health insurance. That bill, dubbed the Corporate Responsibility Act, is likely to move along quickly.

    dan-shannon-garys-auto-service-750xx4128-2322-0-0
    Dan Shannon, owner of Gary’s Auto Service of Denver, speaks in favor of the Corporate Responsibility Act in the Colorado Capitol on April 5, 2016.
    ED SEALOVER | DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL

    While the measures do separate things, business leaders have taken notice that they target the same sources — what sponsors believe are scofflaw corporations using loopholes to get around tax laws and health-care mandates with which other businesses comply. And while they have little doubt that, when introduced, the Corporate Responsibility Act will die in a committee of the Republican-led Senate, they worry too about the messaging of the measures and the effect they could have on the state’s ability to recruit and retain jobs.

    “Even if this does not pass, you cannot tell me that companies will look at our political climate and say ‘Hey, this is a place I want to locate,’” said Tony Gagliardi, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, whose members would not be directly affected by either proposal but who opposes them because he worries that such mandates could target smaller and smaller companies eventually.

    “There’s just too much uncertainty out there, and stuff like this just exacerbates it,” he added.

    While the tax-haven proposal mimicked laws in a handful of other states, the Corporate Responsibility Act would be a first-of-its-kind tact that co-sponsoring House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, said would be meant to stop companies from sending workers who make less than $12 an hour to the Medicaid roles, effectively subsidizing their profits with taxpayer-funded health insurance. And the talk by supporters at a Tuesday news conference in the Capitol resembled the language at a Bernie Sanders rally, centering on how they feel corporations are getting wealthy at the expense of average citizens and companies.

    Dan Shannon, owner of Gary’s Auto Service in Denver, said that by under-paying workers and not offering benefits, big companies get a leg up on local companies like his and undercut their prices. A 28-year McDonald’s worker said she makes just $8.65 an hour and has to be on Medicaid so that the company can increase its profits.
    “This is about leveling the playing field to make sure the accountability of taxpayers is upheld through this process,” Duran said.
    Several people warned that such corporate targeting could backfire for the state, however.

    Loren Furman, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry senior vice president for state and federal relations, said these measures seem to be part of a bigger push this session to tell businesses how to treat their employees and what benefits they should offer.

    Mike Kopp, executive director of Colorado Concern, said that none of these efforts will help big companies provide more jobs in the state.
    “Adding penalties and additional layers of regulations all have costs,” he said. “And that could impact negatively on the size of a workforce that a Colorado employer has.”

    Gov. John Hickenlooper said Wednesday that he has not seen the proposed language for the Corporate Responsibility Act yet and didn’t want to weigh in on that particular bill. But in general, the Democratic governor said that the state should consider both the standards its companies should meet and its pro-business atmosphere when considering major changes like this, and he suggested that such proposals could use a bit more vetting with both opponents and proponents before moving forward in the Legislature.
    “With some of these bills that are large, sweeping bills, I haven’t seen the study work,” Hickenlooper said. “Wouldn’t we want to have a process with stakeholders who might say ‘We can do this in a better way’? … Perhaps with some bills, it might make sense to go more slowly and really analyze the pros and cons and the deeper benefits.”

    Ed Sealover covers government, health care, tourism, airlines, hospitality and restaurants for the Denver Business Journal and writes for the “Capitol Business” blog. Phone: 303-803-9229.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/capitol_business/2016/04/house-democrats-take-aim-at-lawbreaking.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2016-04-06&u=ewaw5QTZsfAZ0BN1ha0knw0d36a24e&t=1459978347&j=72128612

    Posted by Dana West @ 5:21 pm for Colorado politics, Jobs, ObamaCare, Taxes |

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