Small business group polls members on issues

Tony Gagliardi
Tony Gagliardi

Phil Castle, The Business Times

The answers to four questions posed to members of a small business advocacy organization in Colorado will once again help determine how the group lobbies on state and national issues.

The questions deal with a range of issues, including paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, federal spending and wage discrimination.

The National Federation of Independent Business sends ballots to members each year asking for their opinions on state and national issues. The results — along with other polls and visits to small businesses throughout the year — help determine the group’s lobbying positions in Denver and Washington, D.C. The NFIB has nearly 6,500 members in Colorado.

Tony Gagliardi, state director of the NFIB in Colorado, said results will be announced when at least 5 percent of the ballots have been returned — a statistically valid proportion based on the sample size.

The first questions asks whether or not NFIB members favor legislation requiring employers in Colorado to provide employees a guaranteed number of sick days of annual paid sick leave to be paid for by a state program funded by employee payroll deduction contributions.

Gagliardi said the question gauges opinion about efforts to impose mandatory paid sick leave, including a proposal to establishing a state fund to pay for sick leave through employee payroll deductions. The proposal also would impose costs on businesses in calculating and submitting payroll deductions, he said.

The second question asks if Colorado should require unemployed individuals recertifying benefits to list businesses where they have applied for a job.

The question assesses reaction to a proposal that would require unemployment benefit recipients to identify businesses to which they’ve applied, Gagliardi said. The requirement would help in auditing benefits claims and reducing overpayments, he said.

The third question asks if Colorado should file an application with the U.S. Congress to convene a convention of the states for the purpose of proposing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Gagliardi said the question addresses what’s become a growing concern among NFIB members over federal spending and budget deficits. According to the results of a nationwide survey, 83 percent of those who responded believe Congress should be required to balance the budget, he said.

The fourth question asks if Colorado shiykd implement a law that prohibits discrimination for wages and retirement benefits based on the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act. The question assesses opinions about potential state legislation to extend the time in which a person can pursue legal action over alleged discrepancies in wages or retirement benefits based on gender discrimination, Gagliardi said. Federal legislation enacted in 2009 states that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action.