Editorial: Who will support Colorado business? | Editorial

If you’re an advocate for society’s ever-expanding spectrum of rights — sex, gender, reproduction… you name it — Colorado’s ruling Democrat has got you covered.

But if you happen to care about the part of our society that creates most of the jobs, pays the bills and essentially keeps Colorado’s economy going, you might be out of luck.

The November vote resulted in a stronger grip on power by Colorado Democrats statewide. That means the electoral support of historically pro-business Republicans will continue to erode.

The dominant Democrats now have a supermajority of 69 seats in the convention’s two legislative chambers. As a result, Republicans lost 11 seats in 21 legislative committees. Not to mention where Bill lives and dies or falters.

In addition to cementing their legislative standing, Democrats have continued to hold elected executive branch positions across the state. After last month’s election, Jared Polis stepped down.

In addition to being a political humiliation for Republicans, it also arguably spells ill omen for businesses in the state, be they large, midsize or mom-and-pop.

Hence the outrage, even despair, expressed by the business community in this week’s Gazette news reports. Notably, the Colorado Chamber of Commerce — a prominent voice for state-owned enterprises — issued a statement urging lawmakers to “do no harm” as they convene a new legislative session next month.

It could almost be seen as a plea for forgiveness. Policy after policy that Democrats have enacted in recent years — covering everything from energy and the environment to employee benefits — has raised the cost of doing business and made it harder for companies to stimulate the economy.

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As noted in the Gazette, the chamber’s statement said lawmakers should refrain from imposing more “new mandates and regulatory burdens” on companies. In other words, the House is asking lawmakers to take a breather before doing more damage.

So the House is calling on the legislature to first ensure Colorado’s unemployment insurance trust fund is solvent and allow the “proper implementation” of the state’s costly new family and sick insurance program. The chamber insists that many of the recently passed regulatory changes are either in their infancy or have not yet come into effect, and that policymakers should give the business community time to adapt.

Of course, companies have to keep their mouths shut. Chamber President and CEO Loren Furman was quoted in the statement as saying the chamber looked forward to working with lawmakers and others on “unified policy issues that move our state forward.”

But the elephant in the room — and no, it’s not the Republican Party — is this: In a more left-leaning legislature, who would interfere with the employers who keep our economy afloat?

If the incoming Democratic leadership in the Legislature hopes to preside over more than a “pronoun party,” among other priorities on the fringes of their party, they’d better tune their ears for business. They should not develop a handful of members who understand the business and care about its ability to thrive.

It’s clear to Coloradans now that the party in power in their state can advance an agenda of equity and inclusion. What ordinary voters are waiting to see is whether the Democrats know how to promote prosperity.

Gazette Editorial Committee

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