April 24, 2019
Contact: Cinamon Watson

REMI Partnership study on SB 19-188, “Analysis of the Cost and Risk of Financial Insolvency for a Colorado Paid Leave Program,” leads to significant shift in policy proposal

Denver, CO –A study released by the REMI Partnership, “Analysis of the Cost and Risk of Financial Insolvency for a Colorado Paid Leave Program,” has had a significant impact on the debate surrounding SB 19-188, a bill to create a state-run Family Medical Leave Insurance Program in Colorado. The study examined the financial assumptions behind SB 19-188.

“As one of the most notable bills of the legislative session, many pundits predicted SB 19-188 would most likely pass. However, thanks to the common sense findings of the REMI Partnership study, lawmakers are taking another look, evaluating the financial assumptions and considering impacts on Colorado working families and the overall business climate,” said Jenifer Waller, COO and Senior Vice President of the Colorado Bankers Association.

According to the Denver Business Journal, “Most business groups said, however, that the changes did not go far enough, and a study from the Common Sense Policy Roundtable raised questions about the actuarial soundness of the program that have reverberated all the way up to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ office.”

On Tuesday, Governor Jared Polis added his voice to a growing chorus of concern about the financial stability of the proposed program. “From our perspective, any program would need to be actuarially sound and would need to be a win for the business community as well as families,” Polis said before reiterating the need for actuarial soundness..

According to the REMI Partnership study, the estimated cost of SB 19-188 depends on several assumptions. The most impactful of those is arguably the rate of utilization. The fiscal note attached to SB-188 assumes a utilization rate of 3.5% which is lower than 2 of the 3 states that have a history of administering paid leave programs and includes a more generous benefit structure.

“The study findings were clear: the program as originally written, is financially unstable. To successfully create a new government program, legislators need a clear understanding of how much the program will cost and how it will be funded over time,” Chris Brown, Common Sense Policy Roundtable Director of Policy and Research. “If assumptions are unrealistic and unaffordable, there is a danger that policy makers will set the program up to fail.”

“While the intentions behind the program may be good, the assumptions that support the measure are questionable, raising the risk of a costly failure of the program that would amount to huge burdens on business and working families as well as negative impacts on other budget priorities like education and transportation,” continued Waller. Read the full study and key findings here.


About the REMI Partnership: Common Sense Policy Roundtable, Colorado Concern, Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Colorado Bankers Association, and Denver South Economic Development Partnership have partnered to develop independent, fact-based analysis that quantifies the broader economic impacts associated with policy changes. The partnership has provided Colorado lawmakers, policymakers, business leaders, and citizens with greater insight into the economic impact of public policy decisions that face the state and surrounding regions.