Paid Sick Leave and tax breaks for the top 1% are on November’s ballot

Mail-in ballots started landing in mailboxes across Colorado last week. While the media has focused on the General and Senate elections, a few lesser known measures could mean big changes for Colorado.

Proposition 116 seeks to reduce Colorado’s income tax from a flat 4.63% to 4.55%. As a result, Colorado’s tax revenue would shrink by $400 million over the next three years, according to an op-ed in the Colorado Sun. While the idea of a tax cut may initially sound appealing, in fact, most of the benefit would go to the very rich. The average Coloradan would receive less than $42 in tax breaks annually while someone with an adjusted gross income of $1 million would get $725. In addition, the implications of Proposition 116 would be particularly costly given a recent 25% reduction in Colorado’s state budget. 
Families are feeling the impact of the already reduced budget and Prop 116 would further hurt schools, healthcare, public lands and transportation. Fair Tax Colorado writes, “Child care providers are starting to close their doors forever – there has been a reduction of 44,125 child care slots in the state – leaving children without early education and their parents without care.”

The Voter Approval of Certain New Enterprises (Proposition 117) would require a statewide vote on new state enterprises generating over $100 million in revenue within the first five years of operation. 

In order to understand the implications of Proposition 117 on working families, it’s important to know what a state enterprise is. The Progressive Voter Guide explains that, “Enterprises were authorized by the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) as independent entities that administer fee-based programs for specific goods and services such as unemployment insurance, road and bridge construction, cleaning up chemical waste and oil spills, the sale of hunting and fishing licenses by the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, higher education institutions, and the Colorado State Fair.”

This poorly worded, confusing initiative could have disastrous results on state services and could lead to years of lawsuits, unintended consequences, and future cuts in education, transportation, and health care. The primary beneficiaries of Proposition 117 are out-of-state billionaires and corporations who often pay the fees this measure would limit. How do we know? Because they’re the ones funding it, according to the National Institute of Money in Politics.

Learn more about Propositions 116 and 117 at

Proposition 118, Colorado Paid Family and Medical Leave Initiative, would would establish a paid family and medical leave benefit for most Colorado workers. It would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave using an employer/employee based fund similar to unemployment insurance. 

If Proposition 118 is passed, 2.6 million Coloradans could take time off work to care for themselves, a new child, or a seriously ill family member and receive up to 90% of their salary. The average Colorado worker would pay a premium of $3.83 per week to this fund. Eight other states and Washington D.C. have all passed or implemented similar, solvent paid family leave programs.

Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be exempt from paying the premium, but their employees would still be covered. Employers that offer paid leave benefits equivalent to the state plan may opt out and keep their plans.

Learn more about Proposition 118 at