Colorado’s small businesses disappointed with legislature, workforce, inflation



(The Center Square) – Small businesses didn’t get help from Colorado’s General Assembly during the session ending a few weeks ago and other problems continue, according to an organization representing the sector.

National Federation of Independent Business-Colorado, a group that describes itself as the advocate and voice of small businesses, said its members must turn to Congress to get some assistance.

“Unfortunately, Colorado’s Legislature did not take meaningful action this session to brighten the economic outlook among our state’s Main Street businesses,” Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for NFIB, said in a statement. “This leaves the Congressional passage of the Main Street Tax Certainty Act and other pro-small business legislation as a top priority. Failing to do so will result in unaffordable tax increases and continued uncertainty.”

Gagliardi also called for Democrat Gov. Jared Polis to call a special session to create an alternative to Proposition HH, a November ballot initiative to lower property taxes and pay tax collection shortfalls with Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds. Gagliardi described the solution for dealing with Colorado’s high property taxes as “a light at the end of the tunnel from a train coming the wrong way,” according to a statement.

The NFIB-Colorado’s comments come with the release of its parent organization’s Small Business Economic Trends report. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increase .4 points in May to 89.4. It marked the 17th consecutive month the index was below a 49-year average of 98. The last time the index was at or above the average was December 2021.

The report found 25% of small business owners said inflation was their single-most important problem in operating their businesses, up two points from last month. The research said 44% of owners reported job openings were hard to fill in May, down one point from April.

Colorado’s Common Sense Institute reported prices in the state increased by .81% during April and May, down from a 1.34% increase during the two previous months. It also reported Colorado’s inflation rate over the last 12 months dropped from 5.7% to 5.15%.

“The primary causes of this change were a decrease in the price of energy which includes oil and gas, and slower rates of growth of prices of medical care and transportation,” the Common Sense Institute report said. “This comes on the heels of enormous energy price growth which saw the sector’s prices increase 34% (from) May 2020 to May 2021 and 25% from May 2021 to May 2022.”

The report found energy prices fell 6% during the last 12 months, the largest decrease of any sector tracked during the period.

CSI’s research found the average Colorado household spent $1,080 more per month in April and May due to inflation. It found the average Colorado household has spent $16,960 more since 2020 due to inflation.

Inflation in the Denver metro area was 5.2% during the last 12 months, compared to the national rate of 4.1%.



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