2013 Legislative Agenda
Jobs and the Economy
AGC believes that jobs and the economy are the key issue for Colorado. A growing economy is the best way for Colorado to address some of the main challenges facing our state. Colorado needs to be perceived as a stable and welcoming environment for businesses to invest here. AGC will develop and support initiatives that will grow the economy, enhance competitiveness, create jobs, and jump‐start privately‐funded construction.
Promote Building Infrastructure Funding
AGC will promote building infrastructure funding (for capital construction, controlled maintenance, K-12 schools, water, sewer and roads) to both state & local government as a way to improve the economy and grow the construction market. AGC and CAMPC will update its Colorado Capital Construction Report in Feb. 2013 to the legislature, and conduct several tours of state buildings under construction or recently completed for new legislators.
Continue to invest in the Denver Metro Economic Development Corp. (MDEDC) and invest in the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance. AGC Executive Director Michael Gifford sits on the MDEDC Executive Committee to help direct business recruitment and retention efforts and create policies that will help grow the economy. AGC is also a founding partner of the WIN Colorado (Water Infrastructure Network). AGC will support economic development bills in the state legislature.
AGC will continue to support acceleration of the FasTracks mass transit project by 2020 (versus the current estimated completion date of 2044). AGC did serve on the Executive Committee of the 2102 campaign that was delayed last year.
Work Comp Insurance
The current work comp insurance system is a bright spot for Colorado business and an asset in recruiting business to the state (Colorado’s system is the 5th best deal in the country for business). AGC will fight attempts to damage the system or make it less competitive, and will be a voice to promote keeping a stable system as a way to recruit more business to the state
The construction defects system in Colorado has made the state one of the least desirable for condominium development. This situation will affect Transit Oriented Development, high-rise residential development, and mixed-use development. AGC will partner with NAIOP, the Colorado Home Builders Association and others to defend the industry from additional construction defect legislation in the short-run and and look for ways to improve the system in Colorado in the long-run.
Unemployment Insurance System
Unemployment Insurance premiums increased 300% or more in 2011/12 and were projected to rise again in 2013. AGC was part of the coalition that fixed an outdated system for replenishment of the fund via bonding and a new formula, stabilizing rates for companies. AGC is participating in a Dept. of Labor Task Force to help update computer systems to reduce fraud, increase efficiency, and lower costs for employers while providing benefits to those that qualify.
Construction Purchasing & Preferences
In 2012 there were several bills introduced that would have given certain firms a 5% bidding preference if they had certain programs in place (certified that they would use 90% Colorado labor and provide health, pension and training benefits that met a threshold), most notably SB1. AGC expects these type of proposals to resurface in 2013 and AGC has been working all summer and fall to help educate legislators of the unintended consequences and pitfalls of these types of regulations. AGC has developed the following principals to help legislators evaluate the merits of preference or other construction purchasing type regulations:
Guiding principles in considering changes to state contracting in 2013
Everyone supports finding innovative ways to create more construction industry jobs in Colorado. Colorado construction companies hire overwhelmingly in-state labor, since it is not practical or economical to bring in construction labor from out of state. In contemplating legislative changes to the way the state solicits proposals for, and awards construction work, such changes should be:
1. Cost Neutral – The state has seriously underfunded even basic controlled maintenance on its nearly $10 billion of building investments over the last 20 years. Adding even more costs to building projects will result in fewer projects than can be done and actually hurt job creation.
2. Labor Neutral – Proposals should promote the creation of new jobs for all Colorado workers, regardless of union membership or non-membership
3. Performance Based – Colorado should continue its successful strategy of hiring the best qualified contractor for the job to deliver the best product for the taxpayers at the least cost. This is true “best value” or “best value performance”
4. Big v Small Contractor Neutral – Small contractors and many minority contractors will be discouraged from bidding on state work if new burdensome reporting and compliance regimes are created. Proposed changes shouldn’t shift state work to only large contractors, who have an easier time absorbing the costs and employee time needed to comply.
5. Denver v Non-Denver Contractor Neutral – Proposals should not have the effect of shifting state work to Denver-based contractors by forcing non-Denver contractors to send their employees to Denver for training.
6. Increase Construction Employment - At the end of the day, the ONLY way to meaningfully create new construction jobs is to spend more money on construction and maintenance*. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of energy fixing a well functioning state construction contracting system when the state doesn’t have a funding plan for maintaining its existing buildings, much less adding on to these buildings or building new ones. (In 2011 an 2102 the state only budgeted $10 million for controlled maintenance of its 2,391 general fund buildings. The budget was increased to $27 million in 2013. The budget target is $92 million or 1% of the value of state buildings, but that target has only been met once in the last 20 years)
*2012 CSU Economic Impacts of Construction study shows that 18 new jobs are created for every $1 million in construction.