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Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance Accepting 2019 Applications

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) is currently accepting applications for involvement for 2019.

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) is a standing committee of the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley Chambers as well as the economic development organizations of the area.  The NCLA mission is to unite and empower the members of the Northern Colorado chambers of commerce and economic development corporations with the means to generate a strong voice for positive impact on state and federal policy, regulations, and legislation that affect business’ ability to succeed and to help create a more positive business climate for the future of northern Colorado business.  The NCLA board of directors is comprised of six representatives from each of the three participating chambers of commerce, plus the chamber CEOs and the CEOs of the two economic development corporations for a total board of 23 directors.  They meet the third Thursday of each month at 7:30am.

Applications are considered each year as individuals are appointed to two-year terms on the NCLA.  To get involved in this exciting volunteer opportunity, simply complete an application and return it to the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. Individuals need to complete an application for each opportunity they are considering.

Download the NCLA application here

Applications can also be obtained at the Chamber office or by contacting Ann Hutchison at ahutchison@fcchamber.org or (970) 482-3746.

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Regional Issues Summit Set for December 4 – Topics to include water, transportation and workforce

The 7th annual Regional Issues Summit will be held 7 a.m.- 12 p.m. December 4 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland. The purpose of the summit is to bring business, civic, education and government leaders together to identify possible solutions to the area challenges.

This half-day summit is presented by Leadership Northern Colorado, the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA), the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, the Greeley Chamber of Commerce, Upstate Colorado and One NOCO. The program will feature expert presentations, panel conversations and participant reactions on topics including: water, transportation, workforce and the NCLA’s 2019 Policy Agenda.

“Northern Colorado is one of the state’s most vibrant and livable areas. It is also one of the fastest growing parts of Colorado. The Regional Issues Summit is a forum that will bring attention to some of the larger issues facing Northern Colorado,” said Ann Hutchison, Executive Vice President at the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s keynote is Jodie Swee with XYZ University. She will present on Generations@Work and Cultivating A Collaborative Workforce Environment. A core challenge over the next decade will be to attract and retain a skilled workforce as the labor market continues to tighten and technology continues to evolve. This situation is exacerbated as companies find themselves managing four generations of American workers–each with their own distinct characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work. To successfully integrate these generations for a cohesive workplace, companies will need to embrace changes in recruitment, benefits, along with creating a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for its multi-generational workforce. Attendees will learn how organizations can embrace generational diversity and foster a culture of collaboration, acceptance, and productivity.

More than 200 business professionals and community leaders are expected at the Regional Issues Summit.

Cost to attend is: $40/members (Loveland, Fort Collins & Greeley Chambers); $50/non-member; $350/table for ten. Click here to reserve your seat. Registration ends November 30, 2018.

The 2018 Regional Issues Summit is Sponsored By:

Gold Sponsor: Elevations Credit Union; Silver Sponsor: Plante Moran and Upstate Colorado; Bronze Sponsors:  Flood and Peterson, Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Woodward; Event Sponsors:AlphaGraphics and Sign-A-Rama; Table Sponsors:  4 Rivers Equipment LLC, Cache Bank & Trust, Open Door Organizational Solutions and Total Facility Care.

 

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Approach to Retain Tax Revenue Has Broader Implications; Attorney General Amps Up Transportation Funding Debate

Tax Haven Measure Opposed by Business Community

The House is considering a measure to change tax policy in such a manner that economic development and business advocates argue will have a chilling effect on retaining and attracting new corporate headquarters to Colorado.

House Bill 16-1275 would place a measure on the November 2016 ballot to allow voters to decide whether to require corporations to pay taxes on income from affiliated corporations incorporated in “tax haven jurisdictions”, unless the affiliated business is operating for “legitimate business purposes.”

The proposal was introduced by Democrat Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Mike Foote. They argue the measure is necessary to “close a tax loophole that allows many of the biggest companies doing business in Colorado to pay no state income taxes.” The proposal is projected to generate an estimated $75M in additional revenue, which would be dedicated to K-12 public school funding.

The broad proposal is drawing equally broad opposition from the Colorado business community, including the NCLA. Opponents argue the measure will make Colorado less competitive, less appealing for relocation and expansion, and creates a risk of double taxation for Colorado companies.

HB 1275 would grant the Department of Revenue (DOR) broad authority and discretion to develop a list of “tax haven countries”, or a blacklist of countries. Blacklisting has been abandoned by all but two states in order to maintain strong trade relations with other countries. DOR would have additional discretion to define “legitimate business purpose.” A company would be required to prove to the “satisfaction of DOR” that they are engaged in a legitimate business.

The bill has been considered in the House and awaits its third reading where it is expected to pass on a party-line vote. With the split majority between the House and Senate, the bill is on a path for defeat in the first Senate committee. Despite the known outcome, the business community has been vocal in their opposition to demonstrate the implications of public policy upon economic development decisions.

Attorney General Opinion Amps Up Transportation Funding Debate

Last week, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman entered into the budget fray by opining that a shift in budget policy to allow the existing hospital provider fee to be statutorily converted to a government enterprise is defensible as constitutional. The opinion provided new energy around the debate that has important implications for the transportation funding and finance that the NCLA is leading.

The opinion provides a path by which the legislature could move the fee to a enterprise which, in turn, would provide more flexibility in the state budget. The flexibility would prompt the flow of some short-term funds for transportation, argue proponents, including the Governor and Democrats. Republican opponents of the move are concerned about the legal implications but are also of the opinion that the suggested move runs contrary to the will of the TABOR amendment unless the voters approve such a change.

NCLA is working with leaders in both houses and the Governor’s office to build a compromise which achieves each parties’ mutual objective of funding and financing transportation in Colorado.

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Workforce Development Package to Engage Business

Last week, leaders of the Colorado General Assembly set aside partisan differences and rolled out a 10-bill package to tackle lingering unemployment and address lack of available workforce in certain sectors to assure the state’s economic resurgence remains strong.

The package is focused upon getting Colorado’s businesses more involved in the process of producing Coloradans with the skills and training to step into the thousands of good-paying, skilled positions that are available in Colorado but go unfilled, or are filled by out-of-staters.

“A thriving economy is not a Democratic priority or a Republican priority, it’s a Colorado priority,” House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) said at a press conference announcing the package. Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel (R-Douglas County), House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) joined Duran for the announcement.

“Our businesses can partner with our schools,” Rep. Duran said. “Let’s encourage Colorado’s companies to take a larger role in the development of the next generation of Colorado workers.”

In addition to providing tools to encourage companies to participate in the development of the workforce, other bills in the package would bolster the computer science and digital literacy curriculum in Colorado K-12 schools and reward school districts for producing high school graduates with workplace-ready skills and training.

Below is a list of the bills included in the package.  The NCLA board will be considering its positions on the workforce package at their board meeting this week.

Industry infrastructure grant program HB16-1288 (Kraft-Tharp/Tate): Works toward a system in which businesses are engaged in the education system as centers of learning and drivers of career-focused education content. Creates a matching grant program within the Colorado Workforce Development Council to assist industry associations to define industry competencies and collaborate to facilitate training and education in the classroom and the workplace.

Computer science and digital literacy  HB 16-1291 (Lontine & Duran/Hill & Johnston): Directs the Department of Education to update content standards to include tech skills and creates a voluntary resource bank for schools and districts that want to start or expand computer science programs for students. Also creates a grant program for public school teachers in Colorado to pursue additional education that will enable them to teach computer science courses. Colorado public schools have standards in 10 content areas, but the current system lacks guidance for technology and computer science.

Incentives for student success HB16-1289  (Esgar & Duran/Crowder & Garcia): Creates a pilot program wherein school districts receive a $1,000 bonus for each high school student who (1) earns an industry certification tied to an in-demand job, (2) finishes a rigorous workplace training program tied to key industry needs, or (3) successfully completes a Computer Science AP course.  After Florida adopted a similar incentive program, the number of students earning industry certifications each year rose from 800 to 45,000 in just five years, with some of the biggest gains for underserved groups like rural students, minorities and students living in poverty.

Apprenticeship study HB16-1287 (Rosenthal & Wilson/Cooke & Kefalas): Directs the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to study ways to increase the use of apprenticeship programs by Colorado businesses and to make a report and recommendations based on the study.

Extension of ReHire Colorado HB16-1290 (Esgar & Kraft-Tharp/Hill & Heath): Extends the ReHire Colorado program, which provides job training to help Coloradans find gainful employment and transition off of government assistance. The program helps the economic recovery reach the Coloradans who need it most, focusing on helping veterans, seniors and non-custodial parents secure long-term employment.

Tax credit for apprenticeships HB 16-1301(Garnett/Scheffel): Provides an income tax credit to qualified Colorado businesses that integrate quality apprenticeships into their workplaces. Companies must offer high-paying, in-demand jobs as identified by the state Workforce Development Council.

Colorado Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act  HB 16-1302  (Duran & DelGrosso/Newell): Aligns state statute with the federal “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.”

Aligning student academic plans with career pathways SB16-079 (Martinez Humenik & Todd/Young): Directs the Department of Education to collaborate with the community college system to more effectively align postsecondary and workforce readiness initiatives, so that students graduate with the tools they need to be successful in their future career and academic goals. This bill has passed the Senate and was introduced in the House this week.

Clarifying license pathways for mental health professionals HB 16-1103 (Kraft-Tharp & Landgraf/ Martinez Humenik & Todd): Clarifies and streamlines the pathway to licensure in the mental health professions. The bill has passed its first House committee and was sent to the Appropriations Committee.

Qualifications for licensed electricians HB16-1073 (Duran & DelGrosso/Scheffel & Guzman): Modifies the license renewal process for electricians by requiring continuing education rather than an assessment. The 24 hours of training will better equip electricians with the skills they need to be successful in their profession.

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