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Posted: January 28, 2010

Anti-business double-speaking two-step

This legislative dance looks all too familiar

Amy Stephens

By now we are familiar with Washington politician double-speak, "I voted for the bill before I didn't vote for it but I supported it before I opposed it." The public has had it with politicians doing this two-step, and if recent election results are any indication, politicians had better wake up and start speaking clearly and decisively.

In the Colorado state legislature this session watch for the double-speaking two-step and how many of the bills this session will negatively impact businesses or taxpayers. Democrat leaders have waxed eloquently during pre-session news conferences that their No. 1 concern is jobs and the economy and that they would be working hard to ensure that we'd stay on the path to a brighter business future in Colorado.

We are barely out of the first week and are already seeing an anti-business package of legislation being fast-tracked in the name of balancing the budget. Within this package of House Bills are proposals to remove important tax exemptions on everything from the software you purchase online to the fast food and candy you may enjoy.

I'd also like to point to a number of bills with mandates on the health insurance industry. These mandates only serve to pass costs on to individuals and small businesses who will find themselves unable to continue being insured.

Another series of potentially damaging legislation is aimed at tipping the current balance of Colorado's workers compensation insurance. Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado's worker's comp insurer of last resort, has once again found themselves the target of legislation. Bills introduced this year would make it more difficult for them to provide affordable insurance products to Colorado employers. Proposals have been introduced to add increase the size of Pinnacol's board and limit how Pinnacol can use surveillance on people who have submitted workers' compensation claims. The increased costs as a result of these bills will be passed along to the consumer.

As a result of these bills, no matter how noble-sounding, businesses would be forced to pass along their higher costs on to the consumer, all while government reaps the rewards. Folks, this is not a pro-jobs, pro-business or pro-economy agenda. These measures will do exactly the opposite.

So I ask our Democrat leadership in the state House and Senate; why do your actions not meet your rhetoric? Colorado businesses and taxpayers deserve better and with more transparency.

Colorado businesses and citizens must confront this political double-speak because it does a disservice to the hard-working people of Colorado. Actions always speak louder than words and I am sure these actions will not go unnoticed. While Colorado politicians are following Washington D.C.'s lead on the double-speak, terrible legislation, like those mentioned above, to put an even greater burden on families during a recession is being fast tracked - something responsible lawmakers should not even consider.

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State Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Colorado Springs, is the Minority Caucus Chairman and sits on the House Business Affairs & Labor committee.

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