State Sen. Linda Newell, D-Arapahoe, State Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton and State Rep. Anne McGihon, D-Denver, talked about the bills they were …
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State Sen. Linda Newell, D-Arapahoe, State Rep. Joe Rice,
D-Littleton and State Rep. Anne McGihon, D-Denver, talked about the
bills they were sponsoring, the Legislature’s struggle to balance
the budget, and fielded questions Feb. 9 as they met with the
Englewood City Council.
Annually, the council invites the state legislators to provide
prospective of the legislative session.
There was a lot of discussion of the budget. Newell said the
Legislature faces the challenge of making very difficult decisions,
including budget cuts.
Rice agreed. However, he added that, while it will be difficult,
it will eventually cost more to do nothing than to do what is being
proposed at this time.
McGihon also agreed. She said a lot could change, depending on
how the federal economic stimulus money is used. She added that she
was saddened to see the latest proposal that so much money
originally earmarked for education and school construction was cut
to reduce the total cost of the stimulus package.
One bill Newell is sponsoring was authored in cooperation with
Arapahoe County that would use temporary assistance to needy
families funds to provide job training and assistance in job
placement for noncustodial parents ordered to pay child
“The idea is to help the individual obtain the skills needed to
get a job so child support payments could be made,” the senator
said. “That would put one individual to work and may help keep the
other members of the family off the welfare roles.”
She said Senate Bill 09-100 passed the Senate Feb. 9 and now
heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Rice said a bill he is sponsoring would make changes in the
business personal property tax.
He said at least one or two business property bills have been
considered every year for the last two decades and, while there is
a lot of sentiment to eliminate the tax, it probably won’t happen
for a long time because it raises about $1 billion a year for local
He said he feels the practical way to address the issue is to
raise the exemption to a point where the tax would no longer apply
to 30,000 or 40,000 businesses.
A bill requiring companies with more than 15 employees to set up
a program where employees earn sick time based on hours worked is
one of the bills McGihon is sponsoring.
She said, while many employers provide sick time for employees,
that doesn’t apply to members of the General Assembly.
Her proposal would allow employees to earn an hour of sick time
for every 30 hours worked. She said the biggest opposition is from
the hospitality industry and that statistics indicate 83 percent of
the hospitality industry doesn’t have any type of system for
employees to earn sick time.
Councilman Joe Jefferson said that businesses should be allowed
to make these types of decisions based on what is best for the
However, Councilman Bob McCaslin said that didn’t always
As the discussions wrapped up, the legislators said city
residents and members of the council are free to call or e-mail any
time and said they hoped to be invited back to meet not only with
the council but with city residents.
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