Colorado businesses seeking a voice in state policymaking have relied on the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry to advocate for their interests for more than four decades. As the statewide chamber of commerce, CACI champions a healthy business climate.
CACI serves as an umbrella organization for the state’s business community because its nearly 500 members include not only individual businesses but trade associations, local chambers of commerce and local economic development organizations.
At the Colorado State Capitol, CACI is the only business association that works to improve the business climate for all sizes of business from a statewide, multi-industry perspective.
The lobbying team works with members, state policymakers, governmental officials and congressional delegates to advocate for policies that improve, or oppose legislation that would hinder, the ability of Colorado companies to do business and compete in a global economy.
A 44-member board of directors, representing different sizes of companies and industries from across the state, sets the organization’s policy direction. Three specialized policy councils strive to ensure fair standards for business in the areas of taxes, health care and environment.
CACI has a history of focusing on issues of employer-law mandates, labor-union organizing, state and local taxes, health care, higher education, transportation, tort and civil justice, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation mandates.
In general, CACI opposes legislative efforts to impose mandates on an employer’s relations with its workers. CACI has successfully opposed and will continue to oppose bills that would erode the right of employers to conduct background checks on job applicants, require employers to provide health care coverage for their workers and dependents or mandate parental leave for workers to attend their children’s school activities.
Forcing businesses to adopt costly, one-size-fits all policies can result in slower growth, fewer new jobs and the inability of companies to develop unique and creative systems to recruit and retain a workforce.
CACI also will continue to fight to protect the Colorado Labor Peace Act and Colorado’s unique status as a “labor peace” state. Last year, CACI led the charge of business organizations to oppose HB-1072, which would have torpedoed the act and removed the secret-ballot vote currently required to approve an “all-union agreement” in a business. With substantial input from CACI, including an editorial campaign urging a veto, Gov. Bill Ritter delivered a surprising veto of the bill.
CACI is also especially concerned with maintaining a balanced and moderate tax system for businesses. There are a number of important tax issues that will be addressed this session.
The governor’s agenda includes implementing a single-sales factor for state income tax calculations for multi-state corporations that do business in Colorado. In addition, one bill would provide business personal property tax relief for very small businesses. CACI has argued for years for the eventual elimination of this onerous tax, which discourages capital-intensive businesses and makes Colorado less economically competitive in attracting and retaining companies.
CACI also recognizes that there has been a convergence of pressure in the state to do something about climate change. Last summer, a special task force of CACI’s Environmental Council played the leading role in informing the Ritter Administration about the views of the statewide business community and shaping the Governor’s Colorado Climate Action Plan, unveiled during November.
CACI believes that meaningful solutions to climate change, however, must be global, with greenhouse gas reduction goals set at the federal level.
CACI’s lobbying team will continue to oppose legislation to aggressively reduce carbon emissions, such as a carbon tax or “cap and trade,” without an accurate analysis of costs, benefits and technological capabilities and the impact on Colorado businesses and the economy.
CACI continues to adapt to Colorado’s changing political environment and mobilize the business community’s involvement in policy debate.
Learn more about member benefits and follow CACI’s legislative agenda at www.COchamber.com.
Chuck Berry is the president of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. He served as speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1991 to 1998.