Ballot measure submitted to get paid family leave passed by Colorado voters

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DENVER — Advocates for paid family leave have drafted a ballot measure backup plan if lawmakers don’t pass legislation this session at the State Capitol.

This week, Colorado Families First, filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to begin the process of getting on the 2020 ballot.

“These initiatives will give 2.8 million Colorado workers the ability to take care of themselves or a family member when they most need to,” said Wendy Howell, a proponent of the initiatives. “Right now, too many Coloradans are living paycheck to paycheck and are one mishap away from disaster. Bad luck or a medical diagnosis shouldn’t leave anyone in financial ruin.”

The two initiatives ask for a tax increase on employers and employees to pay for the program. Depending on which ballot measure is adopted, Coloradans would be eligible for paid family leave for up to 16 weeks.

At the State Capitol, lawmakers have been debating passing paid family leave for years with financial numbers and structure continuing to delay votes.

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is already criticizing the ballot measure proposal.

“While we strongly support employers providing paid leave, a $2 billion tax increase to fund a state startup is the most inefficient, risky and ineffective way to do it. A state-run program that mandates a one-size-fits-all approach for our smallest businesses up to our largest corporations isn’t the answer,” Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Brough said.

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