Two Bills to Make Child Care More Affordable Advance in the House


(April 4) –The House advanced two bills today to increase access to affordable child care for low-income families across Colorado.

HB14-1072, sponsored by Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and Rep. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs), passed the House on initial voice-vote. It will create a state tax credit for families making less than $25,000 a year who do not already qualify for federal tax credits. The bill was recommended by the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force.

“Colorado’s child care costs are one of the biggest barriers to parents staying in the workforce,” Rep. Pettersen said. “This will increase self-sufficiency by helping parents stay in the workforce while their children are being taken care of and preparing for school.”

“Having access to affordable childcare is important to creating a strong economy,” Rep. Exum said. “Many middle-class families already qualify for these tax credits and we need to make sure that we are also helping lower-income families.”

Earlier in the day the House Appropriations Committee approved HB14-1317 on a vote of 8-5. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), modifies the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) to expand the number of families who qualify for the program and increase the quality of child care across the state.

“Colorado has the fifth most expensive child care costs in the entire country,” Rep. Duran said. “This bill will give more families access to affordable child care and reward child care centers that provide high-quality care.”

Tax Credit for Childcare Costs Affecting Low-Income Households Passes Committee


Tax Credit for Childcare Costs Affecting Low-Income Households Passes Committee

(March 5) – This afternoon the Finance Committee passed a bill sponsored by Reps. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs) to ease childcare costs for working families. The vote was 7-5.

“Colorado has one of the most expensive childcare systems in the country and this bill will help single moms and families living paycheck to in the workforce and enable them to continue to pursue their careers,” Rep. Pettersen said. “Higher-income families already qualify for these tax credits. We need to make sure that our most vulnerable families are also protected.”

The bill will create a new state income tax credit for childcare costs that applies to Colorado families that make less than $25,000 a year and do not already qualify for federal tax credits. These families currently do not qualify for the state tax credit for childcare costs because those tax credits are tied to federal income taxes that middle-class families receive.”

HB14-1072 will now be heard by the Appropriations Committee.

Saving Colorado Jobs

H-Exum-Official(April 2) – A program to help employers retain their work force and save jobs passed the House by a vote of 36 to 26 today.

SB13-157, sponsored in the House by Reps. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs) and Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada), will continue The Colorado Work Share Program created in 2010. The program offers employers an alternative to employee layoffs, allowing them to reduce the work hours of a group of employees instead. Employees then share the remaining work and collect prorated unemployment benefits to offset the reduction in income.

“This program has saved jobs in Colorado. Period,” Rep. Kraft-Tharp said. “There are Colorado businesses throughout the state that have used this program to prevent layoffs of more of our workforce. Anything we can do to ensure Coloradans keep their jobs, we must do.”

Included in this bill are some changes to the current program to bring it in compliance with federal law. The bill also changes the current program by continuing the program indefinitely and increasing the cap on the number of weeks employees may be paid benefits under the program.

“This will allow more Colorado businesses to utilize the program to prevent layoffs and allow Coloradans to keep their jobs,” Rep. Exum said. “We are still recovering from the Great Recession and need to ensure that employers have options like this to keep the state’s economy moving forward.”

Final Passage for Trio of Jobs Bills

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H-Exum-Official(March 19) – Over concerted Republican opposition, the House gave final approval today to three bills to boost the state’s economy and connect Coloradans to good jobs.

HB13-1123 by Rep. Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs) will allow unemployed Coloradans to waive confidentiality requirements so the state can forward their names and contact information to employers and private job placement organizations.

HB13-1138 by Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) creates a new class of businesses — benefit corporations, with the freedom to pursue beneficial causes as well as profits. The bill will attract social impact investors to Colorado, funding more companies and creating jobs.

HB13-1208 by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) allows the state to make infrastructure investments in creative districts, increasing jobs and economic activity and revitalizing communities.

The entire Republican caucus opposed Rep. Lee’s bill. Rep. Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen) was the lone Republican to vote for Rep. Duran’s bill, and she was joined by Minority Leader Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs) and Reps. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo) in support of Rep. Exum’s bill.

“The unemployment rate in Colorado is 7.3 percent,” Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said after the votes. “Do the Republicans really think that’s good enough?”

Helping Connect Veterans to Jobs

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H-Exum-Official(Feb. 21) – A bill that will allow unemployed veterans and other Colorado job seekers to waive certain confidentialities so the Department of Labor can share information with outside employers and organizations passed the Business, Labor & Economic & Workforce Development Committee today by a vote of 10 to one.

HB13-1123, sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs), will establish a waiver for the confidentiality requirements regarding job-seeking veterans’ own personal information. This waiver would allow the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to provide prospective employers with job seekers’ names and contact information. The bill will also still ensure continued privacy of individual unemployment insurance data.

“This is a great opportunity to further assist Colorado’s efforts to match up veterans and other job seekers with potential employers while still protecting their personal information,” Rep. Exum said.

Many organizations that make job referrals and placement for veterans cannot access information about those who need jobs. This will allow the job-seeker an opportunity to share basic contact information with those organizations. There are currently 450,000 job-seekers in Colorado, including about 45,000 veterans.

“It’s another tool we can use to help get Coloradans, especially our veterans, get back to work,” Rep. Exum said.