Economic recovery amid coronavirus
Background: The economy went into a recession in February as the coronavirus began to spread and led to lockdowns across the country. In Colorado, more than 500,000 people have filed for unemployment and the state is facing billions in lost revenue.
Sees need for targeted federal relief
A: Gardner supported a federal economic relief bill to provide targeted help to small businesses and schools. He supports extending the $600 extra payment for those on unemployment but he was satisfied with the lower $300 level recently put in place. He wants to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to help more businesses and provide additional money if needed.
Wants to protect small businesses
A: Hickenlooper supports four different actions to protect small businesses that are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He wants to boost the Small Business Administration’s capacity for loan forgiveness and tap the Community Reinvestment Fund to address small business liquidity. He also believes Congress should consider specific funding and benefits for small businesses including the use of technology, information and infrastructure. He also is pushing for the creation of capital pools and the development of financial products that will continue to benefit small businesses once the crisis has passed or if another may arise.
When it comes to people on unemployment, he supports the continuation of the $600 extra payments
Federal stimulus bill
Background: The U.S. House in May approved a $3 billion package designed to stimulate the economy amid the coronavirus and help people make ends meet. Republicans opposed the legislation, dubbed the HEROES Act, and the Senate has not acted on it.
Supports pared-down stimulus package
A: He supports additional aid and backed Republican-led legislation for a “skinny” stimulus package that Democrats rejected as short-sighted. Gardner supported an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, more money to help school districts reopen, and $300 extra in unemployment insurance but opposed additional money for elections and other proposals for additional stimulus checks.
Families should get up to $2,000 a month
A: He is backing a $3 trillion bill authored by Democrats in the U.S. House -- known as the Heroes Act -- that includes $600 in additional unemployment payments. But at the same time, he’s said he wants to see a compromise, which so far Democrats and Republicans have been unwilling to find. In addition, he supports a plan put forward by Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and others to give most people an additional $2,000 check with future payments on a sliding scale.
But he has also called for a compromise economic relief bill that is less generous, saying if he was in Washington the gridlock discussions would be different.
Paid family leave ballot measure
Background: The topic of paid family leave became a dominant conversation at the state Capitol for the past two years, but Democratic leaders recently abandoned their attempt to create a program. Instead, the idea’s supporters are pursuing a ballot measure in November. In the meantime, state lawmakers developed legislation to provide paid sick time to workers.
He’s worried about impact on businesses
A: Gardner said at a debate he is skeptical and still “trying to figure out the impact on businesses and small businesses in particular.”
He supports it despite prior position
A: Hickenlooper supports the ballot measures to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to workers for the birth or adoption of a child, to deal with serious health conditions or to care for a sick family member. But in 2011 as governor, he opposed a Denver ballot measure to require businesses to provide five to nine paid sick days a year, depending on the company’s size. He said it would cost jobs.
Trade deals and tarriffs
Background: President Donald Trump received bipartisan congressional approval for a rework of NAFTA -- now known as the USMCA, or United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The deal includes new protections for auto manufacturing and labor and the environment, and it relaxes market restrictions on dairy products to encourage trade. It came as a welcome relief to many Colorado farmers and manufacturers. But the Trump administration’s tariffs have created strained relations around the globe in recent years.
Supports the trade agreement
A: Hickenlooper supports the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. He hopes that the three countries can move ahead with protections for Colorado’s farmers, workers and businesses. Hickenlooper does not support trade tariffs and opposes President Trump’s tariffs on goods from China and the European Union. Instead, he said he supports free-trade agreements.
Background: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Donald Trump signed into law in December 2017 reduced the individual tax rate for most taxpayers and nearly doubled the standard deduction. In addition, it repealed or dialed back certain other deductions and removed the penalty for not obtaining health insurance. It also reduced the corporate income tax and pass-through business tax rates. The $1.5 trillion package but did not spur the economy as expected.
Touts the Trump tax cuts
A: Gardner celebrates the Trump tax cuts for helping boost Colorado’s economy, though some analysts doubt the extent of its impact. Most people received a tax break but the largest cuts went to the wealthiest and corporations. Colorado’s budget also benefited from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because the bill removed existing deductions and tax breaks, generating millions in new tax revenue for the state.