President (To Win Colorado) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Biden*

(R) Donald Trump

80%

20%

CO-01 (Denver) See Full Big Line

(D) Diana DeGette*

(R) V. Archuleta

98%

2%

CO-02 (Boulder-ish) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Neguse*

(R) Marshall Dawson

95%

5%

CO-03 (West & Southern CO) See Full Big Line

(D) Adam Frisch

(R) Jeff Hurd

50%

50%

CO-04 (Northeast-ish Colorado) See Full Big Line

(R) Lauren Boebert

(D) Trisha Calvarese

90%

10%

CO-05 (Colorado Springs) See Full Big Line

(R) Jeff Crank

(D) River Gassen

80%

20%

CO-06 (Aurora) See Full Big Line

(D) Jason Crow*

(R) John Fabbricatore

90%

10%

CO-07 (Jefferson County) See Full Big Line

(D) B. Pettersen

(R) Sergei Matveyuk

90%

10%

CO-08 (Northern Colo.) See Full Big Line

(D) Yadira Caraveo

(R) Gabe Evans

70%

30%

State Senate Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

80%

20%

State House Majority See Full Big Line

DEMOCRATS

REPUBLICANS

95%

5%

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
January 30, 2007 07:41 AM UTC

What is the Most Important Issue Facing Colorado?

  • 148 Comments
  • by: DavidThi808

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ok, here’s my first diary on ColoradoPols. What is the most critical issue facing the state of Colorado?

I am not putting in items like Iraq, immigration, or global warming because while they have a definite state level component, they are federal and arguably global issues.

These are the issues that are handled at the state and local level.

I did put in health care because there are states: Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusets that are handling it. It belongs at the federal level but it has become a state issue

What is the largest issue facing Colorado

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Comments

148 thoughts on “What is the Most Important Issue Facing Colorado?

  1. Nationally and state-wide, the rapidly increasing costs of healthcare are becoming a drain on our economy; they affect everything else we do in the state and nation.

    I voted for controlling our current system, but single-payer healthcare is certainly one way of doing that.  There are so many things we could be doing – any of them would be a start…

    BTW, you didn’t include prisons in your list.  Our prison population is proportionally one of the highest in the nation, in a nation that has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.  At the same time, we have cut mental health care and placed many people who should be on medication into prisons.  We spend too much money keeping people locked up, and not enough on treatments and rehabilitation.  This is in part due to the for-profit prison industry and its power in the recent past.

    1. There is this urban myth that governments can control health care costs without changing access to health care, the quality of care  or consumer’s insulation from the cost of care.

      Can’t be done.

      Because federal laws (ERISA) regulate larger, self-insured, multi-state employers, any changes in the health insurance markets that states enact affect only small employers and their workers, including municipalities.

      States are free to experiment, and they do. Sometimes they improve things, sometime the screw things up. New Jersey, for example, pioneered the DRGs now used to price diagnostic groups of diseases, and the feds used that experience to totally screw up Medicare with the prospective payment system, which was enacted in 1983 under Reagan.

      Price controls never work. They may delay price increases and cause market distortions that only politicians can like, but sooner or later, the consumer pays the price.

      Bush’s health insurance industry changes (never call changes reforms) are the most sensible that have ever been proposed by a president, and he should have introduced them in 2001. But the socialists in Congress never will give them a try, because they want socialized medicine, which Bush’s plans would make unnecessary.

      So far, Bill Ritter is showing that he would rather drive employers out of Colorado with his vow to sign proposed changes in workers compensation laws and to back socialism in health care. A lot of businesses that sell outside of the state will be leaving Colorado because of Bill Ritter and the Dems in the legislature, and only the fool hardy will bring jobs to this state, which is being Californiated faster than you can blink.

      1. Bush’s reforms, on further review, are probably just as insensible as any that have been proposed before.

        This state can enact requirements for uniform health insurance claim forms; that alone would cut costs significantly by reducing workloads at doctors’ offices and hospitals.  They can enact electronic filing requirements for doctors and hospitals.  They can require hospitals to implement electronic controls over their pharmaceutical distribution system.

        All of the above are government regulation spurring adoption of proven error-reducing and cost-reducing methods.

        Beyond that, non-profit healthcare worked for this country for a long time.  It is not necessary to advertise heavily, pay out profits to shareholders, or pay CEOs exhorbitant salaries for systems that work no better than non-profits used to work; it’s not necessary, and it’s not sane to desire that kind of overhead for a vital service.

        1. The only thing the state could do that would help long run would be to breakup the four major hospital systems in the state as well as the top health insurers.

          Single specialty medical groups, which can dictate their rates for all practical purposes, also should be broken up.

          Fifteen years ago, integrated health care systems looked like an answer to rising health care costs. Not.

          Instead of bringing efficiency to health care, they gave providers the power to negotiate higher rates with insurers. Medical groups consolidated so they could negotiate higher rates as well.

          Consolidation of managed care organizations made it easier for providers to negotiate higher rates, ironically, because insurers don’t care what the rates are so long as 3% to 10% goes to their bottom lines.

          Nobody on the national scene is discussing this, probably because everyone involved gives heavily to political candidates, and breaking up health care ologopolies wouldn’t be as glamorous as “universal health care.”

          Not-for-profit health care providers are no better than investor-owned ones, because the profits in not-for-profits go to the physicians who control them instead of to shareholders, to over simplify a bit.

      2. You either pay more taxes for socialized medicine and get soaked by the govt, or you pay more premium for private health insurance and get soaked by a private company.

      3. What really amazes me about you guys is that no matter what the evidence, you keep hypothesizing and Chicken Littling all the empirical evidence. 

        As Paul Krugman says today in the Snooze, our system is wonderful if you are rich. 

      4. By the Whitehouse’s own estimate, this will only help roughly 10% of America’s 47 million citizens without health care. And with American companies like Ford posting record losses, something more comprehensive needs to be done to take the pressure off of corporations.

  2. Water is the greatest issue to this state.

    The problem includes: complex water laws (which I understand only a little), increase growth taxing the resources available (Front Range vs West Slope) and our ability to keep our water.

    Water, water, water!

          1. Why isn’t Bush or Ritter doing something about it?

            (And proven “toxic” by that woman dying a week ago from ingesting too much at once.  Can you say “electrolyte levels?”)

      1. There is a geo type that works at the Denver Nat Hist museum

        http://www.dmns.org/

          that has a very well developed presentation that he has made to the political leaders that are willing to listen.  When you see it, you know the future.  It includes a detailed description of the formation of the acquifers, the impossibility of natural replenishment in our lifetimes, the cost of pumped replenishment, etc.  Sitting through the full thing takes more that a couple of hours, but if you’re interested he is probably giving it somewhere. 

        Most of the planning being done is driven by a study made nearly forty years ago under very different circumstances.  Demand on the resource was tiny, and the science wasn’t mature at the time.  All of that has changed since it was done in the ’60s – ’70s.

        For the most part the problem is selective ignorance;  There are people that don’t want to know, because the implications are not pretty.  That includes most of the so. metro country commissioners and a good part of the planning staffs.  Implications are suspension of development, loss of construction jobs, plummeting land values, falling tax revenues, etc.  Life sux, with no parole.

        Also, the Brown Palace has a fairly good acquifer map on the on the west wall close to the stairs.  It was put there several decades ago to describe their select water supply.  It actually documents very nicely the details of the problem.

    1. Water is a critical component.  Highlands Ranch and almost all of south metro are pumping from non-renewable acquifers.  There was a series of presentations at the Natural History museum last year on the extent of the problem, chaired by guys like Curtis Casebolt of the Colo Supreme Court.  The county commissioners in Douglas and Arapahoe County have lied repeatedly about the available supply for nearly twenty years to maintain the rate of development.

      Highlands Ranch sits at the top of the acquifer, which is shaped somewhat like a banana.  HR sits on the top stem.  It will be pumping dry sand within five years.  It is illegal under CO law to pump from ground not within the water district.  To have water they will have to condem across numerous other municipalities and special districts.  Simply put, they’re f***ed.

      None of this is theoretical, it is behind the urgency of things like Reuter-Hess in Parker. 

      I have watched with bemusement the claims of the Dems here as to the coming brilliance of the Ritter Admin.  Ain’t gonna happen.  The coming environmental problems are so severe that almost anything else you can identify will seem trivial.  Circumstances will dictate his course, not his planning and policy. 

        1. I’ve been here since ’52.  Yes, it’s coming. Really.  My wife is a water type (lots of MS degrees, knows Raynolds well (he’s ‘eccentric’ (in an edgy interesting way)), and was an elected official involved with water resource mgmt.  We know lots of the players (including lots of damn water lawyers like K. Salazar and Casebolt) (Tootles would be interested in my daughter; She’s at Boulder studying water law). 

          It’s been scary watching my wife’s evolution as a politician.  She won repeated reelection.  She consults internationally, manages several multi-$M water mgmt. projects, and has walked completely away from local involvement. 

          1. I switched gears. I left the law school and I am now pursuing a Masters in Political Science.

            Water Law is fascinating, especially in Colorado. good luck to your daughter.

            1. I got a master’s in Poli Sci and finally found work in a grocery store pharmacy pushing pills across the counter and telling customers where to find condoms (“Aisle 22, next to the toothpaste” — then one day a guy asked where to find toothpaste, and I almost lost my job). 

              Then I went to law school and that has been my path to … hmm … can’t say riches, I work for the government!  But my job is fun, interesting, challenging, and I assume everybody can find their own condoms because nobody’s asked me in decades.

              1. It maybe the equivalent of an English degree (just kidding). I viewed law as a means to a political career. Not so much as a candidate, but certainly as a staffer or campaign consultant. My hope is that this choice will put me more online with that decision.

                Law school was, well, not enjoyable. I wouldnt counsel anyone out of going, but I certainly would advise them to expect more (insert descriptor here) than they can even fathom.

                1. has struggled a bit, and not with the academics.  I finally convinced her to focus well past graduation on her policy interests; There the knowledge of the mechanics does help. I would imagine you are aware by now that most law school grads do something else. Business school is also morally ambiguous and very boring, but business itself is infinitely creative.  Think about it.

                  Oh, and grad skool is supposed to suck.  They plan it that way so you won’t stick around.  The worst part on mine was I kept asking myself why I was doing it, and when I got done, asked myself why I’d done it.  Fifteen years later I think I am finally beginning to understand, and yeah, it sucked, but it would be worse not to know the stuff.  Watching uneducated managers is like disecting amoebas – not much inside.

                  1. It was definitely a struggle. It came down to a number of factors one of them being the monetary side. It was roughly forty a year, and that was too much for me when I looked ahead. A number of other factors played a part, which I wont go into, but I just figured it wasnt for me.

                    The program that I am in now, specifically the class that I am in is fascinating. I love going to class, which is something that I dreaded before. My current professor actively encourages communication when I was the whipping boy for a couple of professors before. In short, everything is the way I would expect higher learning to be: Extremely tough, but the profs are available, and there isnt the military mentality (or fraternity, your choice). Military mentality meaning break you down to build you up in our image. Frat meaning, we had to go through loads of shit, so you do too.

            1. You mean there’s another one out there…  I am not a scientist, and I do not envy them, nor at times get along with some of them particularly well.  For an interesting time, bring wine and a copy of Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  They’re stuck somewhere between believing that knowledge is particular, contingient and probalistic, and being certain they know pretty much everything.

              I was a Business/History major.  Ein plus machen.

    2. Out on the eastern plains, Owens cut off a bunch of farmers from water and yet, Musgrave and Allard did not step in.

      Likewise, Owens asked the western slope to vote for a blank check for doing water development and then acted surprised when so many shot it down (gee; that was sure surprising).

      In fact, Owens was recently trying to build a housing project equal to or bigger than highlands ranch with minimal water rights.

      All in all, NOTHING has changed. We are still in the same situation that we were in several years ago save the cities are busy buying (and/or stealing) water rights. These MUST be taken care of first. Otherwise, we will deplete Colorado and turn it into the desert just like what happened in the Pheonix valley.

      Once that is done, I would say that we need to re-build a number of systems. Education needs to be looked at. Transportation through the mountains is a big issue. Power is huge. Coal plants? Give me a break. Why not nukes (yeah, yeah, Ft. St. Vrain; But it was a helium and things are very different). More importantly, why not push harder into alternative than what we are? CA is focused on Solar; Or. on Wave and tidal; Tx on Wind. Lets focus on Geothermal and Storage. That may sound like a strange combo, but we have the schools of mine as well as several other engineering schools.

      As to energy storage, take a look at skyfuel.com. This idea was researched by Boeing during the carter’s years. If you look carefully at it, the core is designed to store heat and then power a generator. That heat can come from multiple sources. In particular, it could be the waste heat from another power plant, say nuke or coal. In addition, it could even be excess electricity during the night that heats it up, and then is used in the daytime. This would allow our nation to go with base system that run constant (cheaper for the energy companies), as well as handle the intermittent issue on alternative power. Finally, if done correctly, we may see a need of medium size one of these every 10 sq’ miles.  That is a LOT of sales. This has the advantage of helping during power outages and major disasters as well.  After all, some power into an area, is very useful, rather than having all of it gone.

  3. Ritter is turning the state over to the unions, which will drive manufacturing and printing from the state and will keep service busnesses from even looking at brining jobs here.

    We’ll look like Michigan in no time.

    1. Colorado will attract zero business with Labor’s agenda passing through our spineless governor.  Especially with our moronic constitutional minimum wage amendment.

      Have fun winning in ’10 with no money from business and record unemployment, mr. Ritter.

    2. The sky is not falling. Ritter hasn’t signed a law yet, and here are the neo-cons screaming over nothing. No spilt milk, just sour grapes.

      The unions are not taking over the state. Business still has a free market to play with, and we will attract a lot of new tech. business along with energy. Our economy is going to continue to grow, while we pay our workers fair wages. On the same note, we can improve health, improve (or rather begin to protect) or environment, and at no cost to Business.

      Just be cautious, because the GOP Chicken Littles are out of the coup.

      1. …to the democratic chickens who cluck away during campaigns about how repubs, if they win, will poison your water, chuck your grandma to the wolves Or better yet, have to eat dog food), cause the poor utes to be berefoot and destitute, force women to take their shoes off before retruning them to the kitchen and generally take away your birthday? just curious since every election cycle the dems seem to cry about how we repubs will cause the fall of civilization!

        1. I actually, I think Republican Dave Owen did say women need to be bare-footed, in the kitchen and pregnant.

          I haven’t heard those other criticisms yet, but I will keep my ear low to the ground.

          1. …the party and those of us in it are evil and prepresent all that is bad…very open minded of you. Glad to see you and others in your party are so inclusive in that big tent of yours!

      2. As soon as the Dems are honest about the labor unions being every bit as much of a special interest to their party as big business is to the Republicans, then middle of the road, unaffiliated voters like myself will start taking them seriously.

        Have you ever owned a business?

        1. The difference is that a union represents many thousand of middle class member’s interests. They are “regular folk”, salt of the earth, Joe and Josephina Sixpack trying to get a day’s pay for a day’s work.

          A corporation represents the interests of the CEO, the board, and the management.  The stockholders are increasingly “personna non grata” these days. 

          1. Collects money from and screws over yes.  Unions haven’t been a boon to workers for over 30 years.  They transformed from a force of positive change in the workplace to bloated leviathans led by men who’s only concern is their own aggrandizement.  The percentage of union workers in relation to actual producing jobs (rather than government beaurocracy) has fallen because of unions resisting change and improvements in industry, driving American companies out of business and allowing foriegn industry to take their place.

            My grandfather worked at a paper mill in Ohio.  He was a proud union man for almost 40 years.  He loved the place he worked at, the owners and the local union people got along well and the only strikes that took place were the “sympathy” kind.  Then the national union sent someone from the east coast to take over negotiations with the mill.  His first words to the workers were (quoting my grandfather) “We’re gonna stick to those fat cat owners”.  The mill closed two years later.  My grandfather was 52 at the time, with no way of getting another job and 8 years to wait for his retirement pay.  The union was absolutely no help.  They just wanted him to keep paying his dues.  Unions are crap!

            1. I agree with you 100%.
              Unions were great 100 years ago, but we can see how great they are now, just look at Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc.
              They make demands on costs that just can’t be met. And then eventually drive themselves right out of the market.

              1. Unions had no power 100 years ago. It wasn’t until about 75 years ago that unions gained some real traction.

                Ford, GM, Chrysler, along with the tech industry to India, Japan, and China, are driving our jobs of the continent for cheap labor. SLAVE LABOR, while CEO’s will increase their take 400 times.

                Unions made demands for living wages, health insurance and workers comp. for Americans! The corps. go where they won’t be bothered with such intolerance. Corporate greed, and un-american.

                It’s a joke that you blame the unions.

                  1. It is, after all, *his* retirement check.

                    Like I said, not all unions are good.  Your grandfather’s was fine until some national schmuck came in and took it over.  Contrast to the current DNC Denver situation: local stagehands union is being obnoxious, national doesn’t really want to get involved, but agrees to at least try to guide things.  The nationals nowadays are called in by request most of the time; they try to let the locals control.

                    1. at that time.  You couldn’t collect retirement until 60 and you had to be current in union membership up to that time.  It was remarked upon at the time how many of the long time union members,who were close to retiring, weren’t being found jobs and were having trouble paying their dues.

                      I am willing to admit that much of my visceral reaction to unions comes from being young at the time this all happened, and I have tried to understand the historical significance of the union movement in this country.  But unless unions stop being purely adversarial to business and try to work as a partner they will continue to shrink as a force in industry, which is also disappearing from the American financial structure.

            2. Unions, like most other animals, can be good or bad.

              I would say that the teachers unions have not yet finished their job – I would certainly pay more to teachers given the opportunity.  Yes, I said it – raise my school taxes to pay the teachers more.  They’re training the future of our society, they don’t deserve the shafting that they still regularly get.

              I would say that some grocery unions have probably extracted more than they should from the stores they control, though I don’t know the current state of that situation with the arrival of Wal-Mart and Super Targets and wholesale clubs.

              Unions still provide a great service to workers: they put the worker on a level playing field with the employer in negotiations.  If you’re highly skilled, you have a measure of bargaining power – one of the reasons that few skilled professions have unionized.  But if you’re in a trade craft or an unskilled job, you’re almost certainly replaceable.  Government workers remain unionized in part because a healthy percentage of the population would love to cut government funds until gov’t workers were making below minimum wage – and they’d succeed if there weren’t enforced limits at the employee level.

              1. They should be paid more and the administrators less IMHO.

                  But another cost of unions are the small regional businesses.  The mill my grandfather had worked for was one of three owned by one family.  It was not a big business by even Ohio state standards but were important parts of the communities they lay in.  When those mills went out of business, who took up the slack?  Larger mill companies in the state.  And when they failed?  Maybe someone who was multi-state?  The cycle ends with these national and multi-national corporations that everyone seems to hate running things. I am not saying that unions are the only reason for this, but I think they helped facilitate it. 

            3. I guess he would have worked at shitty wages until he died at 70. At least he still had his job!

              I’m 60 and am essentially unemployable at anything over $10/hr unless I were to luck into something.  And I’ve played the game, worked hard, got educated to the Masters lever, been (mostly) nice to people, etc. 

              Not every story has a happy ending – and I’m taking yours at face value.  We don’t know to what extent other market forces closed his mill. 

              This crap about the law change and unions in general, that it enriches the union and not the workers is pure right wing propaganda.  At the capitol just the other day got a piece (of shit) from the Independce Institute proclaiming this.  This is just another attempt at conning the public by the cons. 

              Most union positions are filled by workers on leave from their real jobs until you get to the top national levels.

              Whatever faults unions have, real or imagined, I’d hate to think of where we would be without them.  Sixty hour work weeks, no OT, Dickensonian work conditions, etc. 

              1. against the fact that unions have done great things for workers in the past and a lot of what many people take for granted in working conditions are owed to what they worked for in the past. 

                My grandfather was a proud union man from the age of 16 (when he started working) who also liked his employer.  He believed in working for his pay and spent his entire adult life working at the same mill, he was a foreman when it closed.  Now this is what I remember from being 12 years old when this happened, but he became very disillusioned with the union and blamed the new union leadership that came in with no previous experience with the owners and started out extremely adversarial in dealing with them.  After the mill closed he could only find part-time odd jobs.  He was too old for anyone to hire full time.  My step-grandmother went from part-time to full time secretarial work and the 8 kids they had between them helped out.  He was able to maintain his union membership until he was old enough to collect his retirement from them.

                My question is, what are unions doing today to not just protect the workers, but to create new jobs for those who want them?  Do the unions have any responsiblity to try and keep factories open and keep their members employed?  Or do they only exist now as a cash cow for the Democratic Party and their senior members?

        2. But they are not a significant one. Look at the DNC situation in Denver. If the unions were truly a powerful special interest in the Democratic party, there’s no way in hell the convention would have been held here.

      3. Intel is already pulling out of Colorado Springs.
        1000 people are going to lose their jobs and they estimate another 4154 could also lose their jobs as a ripple affect. Plus a loss in revenue estimated at 239.1 million dollars.

        Now this decision of Intel might not be directly and only linked to 2nd Choice Ritter and his snuggling with unions, but you can bet it was considered.
        And worse yet, who are they going to try and entice to replace that behemouth?

        1. From an article on the Intel closing in the Rocky Mountain News:

          “From the beginning of 2001 to the fall of 2002, El Paso County lost 7,500 jobs, many of them tech-related…said Thomas Zwirlein and Fred Crowley of the business school at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.”

          Now I’m no fan of Bill Ritter. But blaming him for the decision of a Bermuda-based company, which is closing the Intel plant that it recently bought, seems like a stretch.

          Were the Intel workers going to unionize or something?

          1. were planning on unionizing really.
            But we all know the more this state is unionized, the more the cost of doing business here is going to go up. Especially with the passage of the bullshit minimum wage increase. The union workers are now surely all getting pay raises too, as many of them have their wages tied to the union scale.
            And now whenever a contractor does work for the guvment, such as in Fort Carson or Schriever AFB, they will need to charge more because of Davis Bacon. I’m pretty sure Davis Bacon is also tied to union scale.
            Look at Albertsons. They are closing stores left and right. But who are they blaming? Walmart. They should be blaming their unions.
            That is like me blaming Jap car makers for Ford going belly up soon, when we really know the blame should be placed on all the short sighted people buying their crap.

            I think part of the big job loss in the early 2000’s is from the breakup of Worldcom. It changed to MCI around that time I think, and a bunch of jobs here were lost.
            But other than that, I don’t remember hearing of a lot of problems back then.

            1. The Intel plant in the Springs – formerly the Motorola plant in the Springs – has been a money-loser for a long time, for multiple companies.  Why, I don’t know, but whoever the current owner is would not be the first to want to sell it or close it.

              Minimum wage and union wage are almost never tied in any meaningful way, as the union would be useless if the minimum were all they could negotiate.

              Regarding Davis-Bacon, federal contracts are tied to the prevailing local wage, not to union (or non-union) rates.  In areas where unions prevail, union rates prevail; in areas where union shops are fewer, the D-B rate is a compromise.

              Regarding blaming Wal-Mart: well, if you’re a company that values its (unionized) employees enough to provide healthcare, and you’re competing against a corporation who doesn’t pay their workers enough to get them off of Medicaid…  I know which one I’d blame.  As an aside, every Osco store chain I’ve known has been perpetually on the brink of unprofitability.

              And finally, money goes in and money goes out.  If more money flows to poor people, more money will re-enter circulation almost immediately as those people are in constant need for products and services.  The net impact is minimal; even restaurants, who are theoretically on the shortest end of the minimum wage stick, will benefit as their own employees can better afford to eat out.

              PS – the job loss in the early 2000’s can be attributed to the general economic slowdown and popping of the Internet bubble; the point being made was, Ritter isn’t to blame now any more than Owens was to blame then – sometimes sh** happens.

              1. You are wrong on Davis Bacon and unions tieing their wages to the minimum wage.
                Davis Bacon for Glaziers is exactly union scale. I have had to bid many many jobs for Pete Field and Schriever AFB. EVERY single one requires Davis Bacon wages, which is Union Scale. Period. And Colorado Springs is not a union town.

                I have read in the papers and heard on the news that many (maybe not all but many) union wages are structured to the minimum wage. They must be a certain dollar figure OVER the minimum wage. So when we raised the wages for teenage bus boys, we raised the wages for many high paid union people.

                Your arguement about Walmart doesn’t make any sense to me at all.
                I said that Albertson needs to blame itself for going broke. They over pay their union people and can’t compete. Walmart knows how to run a business. And if the American consumers didn’t like Walmart, why is it such a smashing success?

                Finally I disagree about raising the minimum wage is such a good thing for businesses.
                Just a small example is Red Top here in town is going to have to close one or two of its restaurants due to having to absorb these labor increases. They feel that they can not raise the prices of their food and still be profitable and/or competetive.
                I think the only reason the law passed, even by a small margin, is that most people that voted for it didn’t know the facts. They did the liberal thing and voted with their feelings.
                They were given a song and dance of all the poor middle aged people struggling with huge families on such a low pay scale.
                HA.
                This will bite us all. Especially since it was mistakenly attached to our state constitution.
                Dumb dumb dumb.

                1. I thought you worked for a glass company, here you are saying that you bid on jobs. 

                  Not that it matters, just want to know and keep straight the facts on our little community.

                  I would point out, no I will point out, that if everyone has to pay B-D scale as union, what’s the problem?  At least you know some guy isn’t going to come in with a bunch of illegals and underbid you, the American construction worker.

                  Seriously, am I missing something?

                  1. Yes I do work for a glass company. Have since 1984 when I got out of building houses for a living.
                    My job at the glass company requires me to oversee most of our employees plus bid new work. In fact for many years here my sole job was estimating.
                    So I guess I don’t understand what you mean.
                    We are in fact lucky not to have but one union shop in town that I know of. And they have an unfair advantage over us in one respect, they can pool other union workers from Denver or even out of state when they get behind on a job.
                    We have to rely soley on the men we have working.
                    But to defend our owners, we are paid top dollar wages, good benfits, and for the most part, job security.
                    I wouldn’t trade it for a union job for all the tea in China.
                    Union workers are numbers, not people.

                    I have a buddy (rides a Harley of course) that is a life long employee of a local electrical company. They are union and he is way up the chain of command.
                    He tells stories of the laziness of these guys that you wouldn’t believe.
                    If bending over to pick up a tool is not in their exact job requirements, they will call it in, sit down, and wait for someone under them to arrive on the job site to pick the tool up for them.
                    I call “shananigans”.

                2. Under the provisions of the Act, contractors or their subcontractors are to pay workers employed directly upon the site of the work no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits paid on projects of a similar character.  The Davis-Bacon Act directs the Secretary of Labor to determine such local prevailing wage rates.

                  The primary section of law for determining prevailing rates is 29CFR1.1.3, Chapter 1, Parts 1, 3, and 5 (Part 1 is the main part, so I’ll link to it here…).  The DOL uses local rate submissions from contractors and others, negotiated labor agreements, and state contracts.  It may supplement voluntary data with hearings if necessary.

                  My guess is, labor unions are religious about submitting this kind of data, and the DOL (hardly a union-supporting establishment under the current administration) has to go with what they get.

                  Furthermore, unions support minimum wage not because their wages are tied to it, but rather because (a) they support laborers in general and (b) self-interest because minimum wages give them a bit more bargaining power.

                  I heard all kinds of sob stories about restaurants thinking they’d have to close when the smoking ban went into effect, too – most of them have actually increased their business as a result of the new law.  Minimum wage increases do not have a history of closing businesses – we’ve been at this for years, we have history to back us up.  And the current increase does the horrible, horrible act of “increasing” our minimum wages back to 1955 levels (inflation-adjusted).

            2. can’t recall, WSJ? Business Week?  Anyway, comparing a town in Idaho with a $5.15 minimum wage and a town in Washinton a few miles away with a MW much higher, don’t recall.

              They looked at pizza joints in particular.  What they found is that not only were the Idaho folks having to raise wages, natch, but the economy in the WA town was doing much better generally.

              As has happened EVERY time the MW goes up, the economy benefits.  Guess who needs to spend their entire paycheck at the stores, the poor or the coupon clippers?

              1. One of the things that bothers me is when both sides try to use BS stat.

                Increasing minimum wage a bit will rarely put pressure on the economy. And more important it will nto cause jobs to disappear. Why? Because these are jobs that will be done here. Most are in very low-end service work that can only be done here. But it will most likely not help these lower end ppl much either. After all, 10-20% spread over a decade is nothing.

                Likewise, holding them steady the way the republicans have, will also not really help or hurt the economy. Why? because, increasing 10% on about 2% of the wage earners does not impact hardly anything. Likewise, holding these wage earners at 5 does not help because, somebody in China is doing the job for less than 1 an hour (very poorly and inefficiently, but that is a different matter).

                The simple fact is, that so few ppl work at minimum wage that no matter what you do, it will not impact much. And the relatively small increase goes nowhere.

    3. It’ll bring a right-to-work initiative to the 2008 ballot, it’ll lose the Dems any and all business support, and it’ll bring Ritter’s honeymoon to the quickest crash a Colorado governor has ever experienced.

      Of course it’s a terrible bill.  But when you do stupid things the electorate is usually there to bring you down to Earth–and I have no doubt that the Dems will be rocked in ’08.

    4. Gimme a break.  The probable law only puts us int he same category as the majority of states, 37 I believe. 

      Yes, please do sell your house so that you can move to a Right To Work For Less state.

      If you have ever had a 40 hour work week, a safe work environment, support child labor laws, thank the unions.

      Or thank the men and women who died in our backyard, Ludlow Colorado.

      Ingrate.

          1. Lets put the blame where it belongs; On management. Look, when a car fails from the production line, it is either the engineers fault (bad design) or the workers fault( bad assembly). But that is one design or one car.

            OTH, when a company is having issues esp. with costs, then management is to blame. Why? Because they accepted these costs long ago. Now, I am not a great friend to the unions, but they have their place. More importantly, the management over the years have paid out enormous sums to themselves (golden parachute anyone?), as well as created underfunded pension funds.

            From some odd reason it is popular these days to not take responsibility, but try to take undeserved credit. Time for ppl to grow up and change.

          2. Not saying your are wrong, but I’ve not heard this one.  Source, please.

            You need to keep in mind that in the expansionist economies of the postwar period, the union demands and the company acquiescence’s were not unreasonable.  They could not have predicted the shrinking of the world and that the workers and companies would compete against, say, Japan.

            It’s easy to predict what the future will bring when you can look back.

            1. During the cold war, Americans taxed themselves to create a giant defense system.  We put Europe and Japan and Korea under that huge umbrella. We kept them safe as part of overall defense strategy. We did not tax ourselves to provide a social network, universal health care and pension plans, for all citizens. Instead, unions bargined with their employers to provide such benefits and the cost went into the price of the product. 

              Meantime, our allies and erstwhile enemies, got a defense that they didn’t have to pay for. So, their tax dollars when into a government created network of universal medical care and pension plans (At least in Europe, I am not sure about Japan and Korea..) Our cars cost more and there was less for research and design.  Meantime, our competitors did not have to calculate the cost of health benefits and pensions into the price of their products.

              If we had universal health care, we would have a different society.  In times past, mothers and people with disabilitis deliberately kept their wages low to contintue to qualify for medical benefits on various welfare programs….half the argument on gay marriage has to do with extending medical benefits…I don’t know what the real situation is with kids…..but good prenatal care, vision and hearing screening and early screening for disabilities makes all the difference in long term outcomes and EXPENSE.

              mi dos centavos….with apologies to whomever used that first….PR?  Which I just figured out could mean Phoenix Rising or parsingreality….

              1. It’s called get a job and buy some.

                We have the very best health care system in the world. It is available to anyone that wants it. And it doesn’t take months or even sometimes years to get treatment.
                Just simply buy coverage and go see the good Doc.
                Or go see the Doc, and write him a check for his services when you are done.
                What is the issue here?

                The ONLY problem with our system (in some people’s eyes)is that liberals want SOMEONE ELSE to pay for it for them.

                I think our sytem works fine. I have a job, I buy insurance, I see the Doc, my insurance pays the bill over and above my co-pay.
                End of story.

                  1. that. Calling me similar to your ex-wife…….shudder!

                    Health care is as simple as I wrote. IF people apply themselves.
                    I know that is a big IF but it does ring true.
                    IF people got off their collective lazy butts and applied themselves, they too could afford health care. But far too many have zero self reliance/self control/whatever you want to call it. And they know it is far easier to rely on the softies (mostly liberals) to feel sorry for them and push to make us ALL pay their bills.
                    I for one don’t want to pay their bills.

                    So if you can come up with a system that allows the ones of us that want to pay our own way to be exempt, fine. Knock yourself out.
                    The rest of ya can pool your money and get your own socialist insurance. But don’t expect me to pay for it.

                    1. Let me get this right: if everyone applied themselves, they’d all be working in jobs where they’d make enough money to buy healthcare?  Does this mean that we as a country could just ditch all the cleaning services, fast food joints, diners, and other low-paying jobs and everyone would be happily eating steak and caviar at Morton’s Steakhouse every night?

                      And I thought I was supposed to be the utopian idealist!

                      Maybe you haven’t figured it out yet, but it takes 11+ hours just to fill your average gas tank on minimum wage.  That’s more than 25% of a work-week!  Living arrangements: well, if you’re living in a small apartment with too many people, you *might* be able to pay the rent on minimum wage.  Healthcare is Right Out; the co-pay to add my wife to my own health insurance would bankrupt a minimum wage earner.

                    2. to better pay.
                      Minimum wage is meant for kids, not adults.
                      It’s called moving up the pay scale. Or advancement in the working place.
                      It’s called self reliance.

                1. Hate to get personal, but you are a jerk.  Without getting too personal with my story….preexisting condition diagonised before I got out of college….uninsurable.  That’s right buddy, no everyone gets to buy insurance….plus…employers looked at medical history because if someone with a serious preexisting condition winds up in their insurance pool, their preminums go up…

                  I got some medical care by volunteering for clinical trials….that is no way to go. That stinks…..finally got a policy which I faithfully kept…cost more than a car payment…and it worked as long as I did not use it……Gradually the insurance picture got better….but there are still people who can not get insurance….and if they can get a chance to buy it through government pools…..it  can be  $2000 and $3000 a month….and here is a thought, you jerk, people get real sick, can’t work, lose their insurance……may or may not be eligible for coverage through the gov…..which you are against anyway….

                  You are not just a jerk……you are one lucky jerk……you don’t know about this stuff because you never had to deal with it….lucky. Maybe I am jealous, maybe that is why your smug ignorance pisses me off so much….

                  1. Apparently you are new here or you would remember my story about my dad. He crashed his Harley and was put into a comma in Arkansas in 2000. My mom was dead so he was all alone.
                    His one million dollar Blue Croos policy ran out after about 4 months in intensive care. When it ran out the booted his ass.
                    So what would you do in that same situation?
                    His closest relative, me, lived 1000 miles away. He had no mother or father alive, and never had any brothers or sisters. So I was it.
                    So I packed my entire household, took a leave of my job, and moved my family there. My wife had to sell her medical insurance billing company and became his full time in home nurse.
                    She and I had to change his adult diapers, feed him through a stomach straw, take him (with the help of an engine hoist type machine) to the doctors occasionally, and wipe his nose, 24/7.
                    After about a year and a half he died of pneumonia. We moved back, my wife got another job, I went back to work, and all is back to semi normal.

                    So you know nothing about me. Calling me smug is bullshit.
                    You will notice that my family (not just me personally) did not ask for a fuckin thing from the Guvment. And I never will.
                    If more people quit their fucking crying and manned up, we wouldn’t need socialized health care.

                    1. He was attacking me because I’m a CU prof!  I think he’s truly, seriously, laughably lost it. 

                      If it helps, G-Man, I like you (in a totally platonic sort of way, of course). 😉

                    2. You are right, you made great sacrifices. But your presumption is that everyone is capable of doing what you did.  Let’s go over the main points I argued.  Not everyone can get insurance.  Your father had insurance, initially.  Not everyone can afford insurance if they can get it.  You had assests in your wife’s business and evidently enough so that you and your wife did not have to work for over a year and I presume were able to pay for your own insurance during that time..that is a hell of a lot of money.  I pointed out  when people get sick. many times, they lose their job and with it their insurance.  You were at a job where you were able to take leave for a year and a half; and most importantly, your wife was an RN.  So the skills were there to help your father. Those are extraordinary circumstances and you were lucky.  Most people can not duplicate your feat, not because they are lazy but because they don’t have your financial assets……beginning with a business your wife  could sell and  a job you could get a leave from… Sorry about your father.  But your experience apparently has made you bitter, not compassionate.  I think you are still ignorant about what other people have to deal with…people who were not healty enough long enough to develop your financial foundation.

                    3. I reread your post. You are right. I shouldn’t have called you a jerk. I apologize. I still stand by my arguments, but you made some tough calls and I was wrong in making assumptions about your personal experiences. 

                    4. It takes a big man to apologize.
                      I’ve been forced to do it here to and it is a little humbling.
                      On the insurance part, I can see your point and to a small extent I agree that many people just simply can not afford it.
                      I understand that and I am not such an ass that I think they should be kicked to the curb. There should be ways for them to get help if they truly need it.

                      I guess my biggest complaint with this whole arguement is that too many people are just plain lazy, or unresponsible enough to carry insurance. To many, buying cigarettes or booze or eating out often is more important.
                      That is my gripe. I don’t feel I should have to pay for their incompetence.
                      Again, Thank you.
                      I appreciate your words.
                      Gecko

                    5. I don’t know what the numbers are for people like this, but I suspect it is fairly high.  Some people choose to roll the dice and hope they don’t get sick.  Even if you covered all low income people, you still have these folks to contend with.

                      People who can’t get insured due to past or present health problems are really up against it.  I have a friend who pays almost $1000 per month due to a history of cancer, but what can she do? She can’t be without insurance. I am very healthy but my insurance goes up $100 a month each year, so I have to change companies every three years. They exclude as many things as possible so the deductible (already high) just gets higher and higher. 

                      I don’t have any good solutions, just want to kavetch.

                    6. There are a hell of a lot of inequities in the system I don’t like paying, either through taxes or higher insurance premiums, for people who won’t buget for their own care and  smoke, etc.  But, I don’ know how to make  a system fair where there is such a large element of randomness….it rains on the just and the unjust alike.  Drunks live a long time and decent people get wiped out by a kid’s cancer.  I don’t have any answers. But, we have to come up with something better than what we’ve got.  Thanks for accepting my apology. I’m sorry about your Dad.  That must have been pretty bad.

              2. Me on the “dos centavos”, wow, now I’m being quoted.  Next stop, fame and wealth! 

                Those are good observations.  It goes back, in essence, to my posts of our military being way too big.  Of course, there are many, many people outside of the military proper who benefit from this huge budget item.  (And note how poorly paid our front line soldiers are.)

                Our budget is twice what the rest of the world’s is.  With a military that doesn’t have bases in 135 countries (another block of interests, our dollars pumping up their local economies) we might be a little less likely to go to way in places like Iraq.

                The myopia of those who say “We can’t afford it”, “it” being health care, education for our citizens, decent care for the aged (rapidly approaching!) never consider what we spend on the military. 

                Cut the military to a level that is more descriptive of “defense”, tax the uber-rich like we used to, and suddenly we would have more money for social programs than, than, than, Kind Midas or Scrooge McDuck.

                And what’s with this NATO beast that won’t die?  The Cold War has been over for 20 years.

      1. Was in a different universe than anything remotely happening today.  Heritage doesn’t by itself make for sound policy. Using your logic, we should try to continue all of the gains the Klan had fought for and won in Colorado in 1914, right?

        The Unions had a great place in American history, but their greed has made them mostly irrelevant today.  Coloradoans aren’t as gullible as you might think.

        For everyone that’s not a union organizer (like ‘go blue’ and PR), check out unionfacts.org.

        1. The unions days are over. They did good a hundred years ago. We DO NOT need them anymore.
          They do nothing but breed laziness in their workers, and they drive the costs of everything associated with them up. Due to the tremendous benfit packages and pay rates that they demand.

          The shop I work for was union back in the late 70’s. (I started in 1984)
          Every single worker there now, including the ones that have been there for over 40 years, would walk before they would go union again.
          Because in the long run it just isn’t worth it.

        2. Like all institutions, they became archaic in many ways.  Lots of things have changed since the union heydays (hmmmm….coincidentally the peak of the middle class?)

          The world economy has changed, corporations have changed, and unions have grudingly changed. 

          Unions are the only way average people can counter management’s greed.  I’m not saying they are some saintly, perfect institutions, but without what they have done, all of you, Gecko included, would be a lot poorer.  I mean that both financially and generally.

          To say that the Ludlow Massacre was in a different universe states the obvious.  It was a universe where the governor of Colorado could call out the state militia to murder citizens so that the Rockefeller family could become richer and without the annoyance of those gnats. 

          Agreed, our universe is somewhat different.  But if heritage is not a factor in policy decisions, fuck the Constituion, you know? 

    5. First, the jobs in colorado were MUCH better back in the 90’s. And that was after eons of dems in gov. control. Now, after 8 years of republicans in tight control of the state, jobs have been literally running away. Other companies are buying our weak companies and then closing them down here. Why? Because we are not the state that we were say 16 years ago. When I got here ~30 years, we had great roads (but one of the higher road taxes), very good 2’ndary education, and slightly better than so-so primary education. But by late 90’s, the road needed work, but our education was towards the top. Now, all 3 are in the gutter.

      Now, I am really opposed to this law that is being pushed by the dems. But I seriously doubt that it will impact this state as much as 8 years of mismanagement has done. I only hope that Ritter has enough sense to not sign the bill. But then again, he is the elected gov. 

  4. Colorado’s wildlife and western slope communities are facing an unprecedented level of energy development, poisoning our air, water, trashing our sacred places, displacing wildlife, destroying habitat, trouncing on surface owners, usurping local control…

      1. consider that surface owners are frequently not mineral rights owners…

        And also that mineral rights owners have been polluting surface owners’ lands without consequence for years now.  This is a serious issue in some parts of the state.

  5. The biggest problem in Colorado is that King Soopers raised the price on my favorite ice cream: Celestial Seasonings Green Tea.  What the hell is that?  It was 2 for 4 and now it’s like $3.69!  Those are Euro-style prices but I’m a junkie and cannot quit.

    It’s Bill Ritter’s fault.

    1. Boulder’s rubbing off on you… soon you’ll be at the drum circle praising Ward Churchill’s name… Get some cheap plastic-tasting vanilla before it’s too late!

    1. But that was taken care of last year–decisively!  You won’t see me shrieking around about gay marriage much more.  The great Centennial State spoke clearly in favor of traditional marriage last year and therefore it has become a lesser issue on the statewide agenda.

        1. Okay.  Not really. 

          I understand your point.  But you’re missing THE point.  The whole “save marriage” business wasn’t about smiting gays.  I’m sure some who voted for to protect marriage were voting much more to take a whack at the homos.  But that wasn’t mine, Focus on the Family’s, or the campaign’s motivation.  It was to protect what we view to be a sacred institution and defend it from a radical redefinition.  Period.

          So it wasn’t to fight vice.  Your insinuation about adultery and the rest is that, hey, those are naughty too, so why aren’t you crusading on those issues?  Well, just like homoesexuality, those are not political issues.  I’m not sure what good would be done by banning adultery.  I want homosexuality and adultery to be legal.  Or–to put it more gently–I don’t want the government making silly rules that it will never enforce.

          But what about adultery?  If there is no legal/political solution to those devastating ills, what is to be done?  That is actually the primary focus of Focus on the Family and other like-minded groups.  It’s a cultural solution, ultimately.  We can protect marriage, prohibit abortion, put prayer back in schools–all things I favor, mind you–but if we don’t get to the heart of the problem, culture, nothing will change.

          Also realize that for conservative culture, not politics, is the ultimate core or Ground Zero determinate for individual behavior.  That’s why I’m not terriby shook up over Democrat control both locally and nationally.  It stinks.  It’s dangerous.  But it won’t change the American people of Coloradans–if we are, as I submit, a conservative people Nancy Pelosi can’t change that through any legislation.  Only culture–our values, our institutions, our families, our churches, etc. can change THAT.  So I work on various cultural renewal groups, help strengthen my family, work to better my community and neighborhood, help grow my church, help introduce people to Christ, etc.  You and I probably agree, Lauren, that family and community are the ultimate venues for change in society.  If you want to stop vice you start in those places.  Not in Congress, not in the legislature.  While legislation and votes can help protect cultural values–like traditional marriage–it cannot cements these ideas in the hearts of husbands and wives.  Where we find the best and most etifying solutions is in the culture.

          1. What gives you and your religious buddies the right to impose your religious beliefs about the word “marriage” on others?  If the United Church of Christ or the Quakers or the Episcopalians are willing to offer marriage ceremonies to gay couples, what right do you have in this secular nation (see Tripoli, Treaty of) to dictate their religion?

            And what reasoning did you have to opposed the civil unions Amendment I?

            You’ve provided the answer yourself – you don’t believe in the separation of Church and State; you *want* your beliefs imposed on the rest of the country; and you *do* believe that homosexuality is a sin and we shouldn’t be recognizing gay couples.

            It really is about smiting gays in the end, isn’t it…

    1. Hildebeast will be here lots in 2008.  But she won’t win.  The liberals will try to win–and they have won–but there comes a point when a conservative state needs a bit of purging.  Let’s hope that comes in 2008.

  6. Until TABOR is reformed, you can’t fix most of the problems that the state could address.  Ref. C was better than nothing, but it came far short of addressing the funding needs for state programs.  The 6% limit is going to crush the state. 

        1. Your ‘poll’ only had topics that interested you.  “Labor Issues”, “Water issues” or “The Environment/Energy Issues” were the most responded-to topics in the thread, but nowhere in your poll, silly person.  Here’s a poll:

          What interests you the most:

          Bill CLinton’s indescretions

          Bill Clinton’s Perjury

          Hillary Clinton’s suspect enrichment while a public servant

          Howard Dean’s medical deferment while skiing in Aspen

          John Kerry privately meeting with the enemy while a comissioned military officer

          Education

          There. You like that poll?

          1. In other words, what should our state and local government’s be addressing.

            Somehow I don’t think anything on your list except for education falls into that category.

            But you are welcome to have a poll of which right wing fantasy about liberals most upsets you and collect votes on that.

            1. Of course my poll was ridiculous.  I’m just saying that you’re  missing the issues in your possible poll questions that people are concerned about, hence the long threads related to energy, water, and labor issues.  Your poll is weighted toward a very liberal agenda and away from the reality of what people want to actually discuss.  Then you pooh poohed the fact that more folks here are interested in discussing labor (from both sides) than “helping poor people” or whatever BS neverland question you asked at the end there.  Great topic, great diary.  I mean it – let’s just see a little more pragmatism in the topics presented to ‘vote’ on.  Maybe I should have called you “Sequoia Boy” instead of “Platitude Boy”.  (That’s supposed to be funny in a friendly way).  Let’s disagree, great, but I’m sure that everyone here (except for Sir Robin(again, funny)) is actually a good person interested in learning from others.

              Lighten up.

          1. …because I’m so clever and funny?  Or because You’re so much smarter than I am?  Or because my moniker has simply spread a humorous undertone to a dreadfully boring subject that (sadly) only nerds like us find interesting?

      1. THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN, DECIDED, OR INFERRED FROM AND ON COLORADOPOLS.COM IS HALLOWED, SACRED, AND BE THE ETERNAL BEACON FOR THE CITIZENS OF COLORADO.  NOTHING EXPRESSED HERE THAT DEMONSTRATES A LEFT/LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE/COMMUNIST/GUEVARISTA/STALANISTA/
        CLINTONISTA, ETC. POSITION SHALL BE DENIED.  IT SHALL HERETOFORE BE THE CONSENUS POSITION FOR ALL CITIZENS OF COLORADO.  AMEN.  GLORY BE TO GORE.

        🙂

  7. when it comes to spending our money during the good times.
    It does not matter whether they be Democrats or Republicans, both parties appear to be able to spend every dime and then just a tad more.

    Then, when we have an economic downturn, they go in to panic mode.

    Moderation in all things.

  8. It won’t change a thing for companies.  It doesn’t change how employees of a business form a union.  That process is the same as it has been for 40+ years.  It doesn’t change how the contract gets negotiated between labor and management.  A union shop or agency fee provision has to be negotiated.  That means management has to agree to put it in the contract.  Management can always say no.  It doesn’t cost the company a dime more than they would pay now because union dues and agency fees are deducted from the individual employee’s wages.  The employee, not the company, pay for union membership.

    I understand businesses being against the change.  The rules have been in place a long time.  This policy just isn’t the threat it’s being made out to be. 

    1. Does this bill require that if a group of employees (51%) vote for unionization, are all employees required to join and pay dues?  Are employers required to only hire union employees?

  9. The biggest issue for Colorado in my opinion is promoting investment in Colorado.  I don’t mean creating monetary incentives to invest here, I mean eliminating the myriad of governmental disincentives to invest in and run a business in Colorado.

    When businesses invest in Colorado, it creates jobs and economic prosperity.  When they choose not to invest here, and invest in a more business friendly jurisdiction, beaucoup problems arise.  California created a business-hostile environment, and businesses are fleeing the state whenever possible.

    Taxes (and I don’t mean income taxes) create immediate disincentives to invest.  Many businesses face special taxes that are used to fund social programs in Colorado.  For example, gaming taxes are used to fund Historic preservation, tourism promotion, film makers, and ethanol development.  The relevant gaming tax rate is 16-20%.  By comparison, te gaming tax rate in Nevada, Mississippi, South Dakota, and New Jersey (who compete with Colorado for gaming investments) is between 6-8%.  Not surprizingly, big casino companies (Harrahs, MGM/Mirage) don’t invest in Colorado and Colorado loses jobs and the economic development such investments would bring.  There’s a virtual feeding frenzy among Colorado legislators to spend gaming tax revenues, but absolutely no consideration given to how those taxes incent or disincent investment in Colorado.

    A French bio-tech firm contacted me to explore opening a facility in Colorado.  They dropped the idea of investing in Colorado when Owens started going around the county trashing the French for their refusal to “drink the cool-aid” and buy into the weapons of mass destruction justification for invading Iraq.  The French turned out to be right and Colorado’s Governor’s desire to weigh on on national issues that are none of his concern drove away a potential business that would have been good for the state.

    When the smoking ban was enacted, no consideration was given for how that affects businesses revenues.  Is it better to protect people from second hand smoke if it means reducing the number of jobs in Colorado?

    SB 1, 10 and 79 add significantly to the administrative burdens of running a pharmacy, a hospital and any health care business.  They will only increase the cost of providing health care in Colorado, and disincent health care providers from operating a business in the state.

    SB 107 regulates landscape architects.  SB 137 establishes regulations and standards for plumbers.  Bills like these create costs for businesses, and when businesses can choose to locate in Colorado or go to a more business friendly state, they will pick the more business friendly state.

    High-speed internet service is virtually unobtainable outside the front range thanks to Qwest’s “Spirit of Service” and reluctance/refusal to offer advanced services in rural areas (even though Qwest gets a $58 million subsidy for service to rural areas paid for by surcharges on everyone’s telephone bills).  That creates a disincentive for business investment in rural areas.

    Fixing the disincentives will, in my opinion, require a comprehensive review of statutes, rules and regulations with a focus on “how does this incent or disincent investment”.  I suspect that ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime irrespective of how badly it’s needed.

    1. Good post.

      Colorado starts off with several disadvantages, and the Dems are making our state even less attractive to potential employers.

      DIA is expensive and distant, poorly served compared with other hubs.

      Dems control the state government, which means the state will be as anti-Business as California and New York in four to eight years.

      Property taxes kill companies that are capital intensive.

      Sales taxes are high.

      People commute long distances, tiring them before they get to work.

      People would rather recreate than work. Mountain time is real slow, compared with more productive areas of the country.

      Health care costs here are high, especially dental costs, because there are so few provider organizations and insurers. And they will go up under the changes the Dems have in mind.

      What Ritter and the Dems don’t understand is that instead of being a desirable place to do business, Colorado is relatively unattractive to smart business people. This means the state should be trying to create a more business-friendly environment.

      Instead, the Dems are going to be driving businesses out.

      Maybe that’s the environmentally friendly thing to do, and that’s what they really want.

    2. I started a software company recently (doing ok) and there is one thing I wish the state did – provide health insurance. That would have been and would be a gigantic help. Tax me for what I pay now but take the headache of setting up and administering the program.

      As to problems the state causes me – I can’t think of one. I wish Qwest could put in phone and data lines quicker but they’re quick enough.

      And the government is basically not there. Virtually nothing we have to do, virtually nothing they get in the way on.

      I’ld say Colorado is a great place to start a software company.

    3. One idea that I had was to allow casinos to bid on opening up at the airport. But I was thinking that it would be useful to allow them to build terminals d and e and then run inside of these. When the airport needs a new terminal (i.e. a,b,and c are built out), then the airport gets to take over D, and then later on E (but allow the gaming to build out a new F). By doing it in this fashion, we could allow the airport to be paid off quickly, and still be able to expand. This is a good win-win.

      One of the big grips was that gaming is such a bad thing for the state. Well, now, it is taking most of the money from out of staters.

        1. It is new area (DIA only) and new customers ( ONLY those are ticketed) for gaming. It does not take money from the local population except those that are on a flight (coming or going). ABout 50% of the passengers are passing through. IOW, these are customers that would not be playing the mountains. Finally, it is very likely that a few of the places in the mountains would be the ones to stake it out.

        2. I believe the term is “we gaming communities” not “us” gaming communities.  Geez, sending replies like that only confirms that the frequenters of the current gaming establishments are like “Walmart” regular customers. 

  10. CA mean annual wage (2005) $42,510
    NY mean annual wage (2005) $44,060
    CO mean annual wage (2005) $40,280

    CA unemployment rate (12/2006) 4.8%
    NY unemployment rate (12/2006) 4.0%
    CO unemployment rate (12/2006) 4.0%

    1. Same unemployment rate as NY and lower than CA, mean annual wage compared to highest cost of living states?  Looks pretty good to me.  How do we stack up against Nebraska and Kansas?

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments


Posts about

Donald Trump
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Lauren Boebert
SEE MORE

Posts about

Rep. Yadira Caraveo
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado House
SEE MORE

Posts about

Colorado Senate
SEE MORE

70 readers online now

Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop with regular updates!