Opinion: Don’t raise taxes; vote ‘no’ on Proposition 118
Sky Blue Builders chief marketing officer
To say that 2020 has been a challenge is an understatement. Throughout the ups and downs of the pandemic, natural disasters and economic catastrophe, I have been inspired by my co-workers and construction industry colleagues. Over the past six months, they have exhibited extraordinary generosity toward their neighbors, contributed to their community and fought to survive in the midst of economic chaos. They have been nimble, resourceful and effective.
Even more inspiring, they are poised to pave the way for Colorado’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, Proposition 118 is a bad deal and just one more obstacle to that economic recovery in what has been a minefield this year.
That’s why I’m voting “no” on Proposition 118. I cannot support one more roadblock for the hard-working Coloradans who have done more than their fair share to navigate 2020.
Proponents claim the measure will provide family and medical leave benefits to Coloradans. In reality, Proposition 118 is a $1.3 billion tax that will create a huge, new bureaucracy and give unprecedented power to a political appointee to raise taxes on hard-working Coloradans.
If passed, nearly every Colorado employee would pay a new tax deducted directly from their paychecks to fund the program. For an employee making $75,000 a year, the new tax amounts to $675 split between the employee and employer — a whopping 10% increase in payroll taxes. That’s just in the first year, the tax is expected to increase year after year. At a time when so many families are struggling to make ends meet, now is not the time to raise taxes.
For businesses, both large and small, the impact of this measure is catastrophic. In 2025, the total premiums to be paid by employers could total over $1.34 billion. This would be an effective increase of the corporate income tax of a staggering 204%.
Even worse, the program promised by Proposition 118 is a one-size-fits-all benefit that limits the ability of employers to tailor support for employees. For instance, my company recently paid for funeral expenses of an employee’s loved one. We also have done our best to accommodate the needs of others with options such as modified work schedules. Most employers want to provide a benefit that works best for their employees rather than an inflexible package that doesn’t fit the situation at hand.
What proponents of this measure fail to realize is that as employers, we care deeply for the men and women working in our businesses. We do everything we can to support them through crises and hard times. Without them, we simply could not operate.
Finally, this program simply doesn’t add up. An independent study from the Common Sense Institute predicts the program will be bankrupt from the beginning. In other words, after paying into the program, an employee won’t have access to the benefits they have been promised and taxpayers will be left to contemplate a bailout.
From the Colorado Farm Bureau to chambers of commerce, trade associations, community organizations, editorial boards and leaders across the state, a growing number of Coloradans have urged a “no” vote on this harmful measure.
Join me and vote “no” on Proposition 118.
Lauren Grosch is a mom and the chief marketing officer for Sky Blue Builders.
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