JCBL Legislative Update

Bipartisan agreement on problems, but not necessarily on solutions

By Jeff Weist, Jefferson County Business Lobby

The Applewood Business Association is an active member of the Jefferson County Business Lobby, the unified voice of 3,000 Jefferson County businesses advocating for public policies that strengthen our economy. We wanted to give you a preview of some of the business issues on which the JCBL is engaging at the State Capitol in Denver as the 2017 Colorado General Assembly gets underway.

The dynamics of the Legislature will, for the third year in a row, be dominated by split partisan control.  Democrats retained control the State House of Representatives while the Republicans hang onto their slim one seat majority in the State Senate. Split control means both parties have to work together to accomplish anything of significance.

Remarkable agreement exists between the Democrats and Republicans on the major problems facing the state – such as inadequate transportation funding and escalating housing costs – but finding agreement on the solutions to such problems have been elusive.

The JCBL’s priorities for the coming year include:

New Transportation Funding: Colorado is one of the few states in the nation not dedicating state General Fund dollars to transportation infrastructure. The Colorado Legislature must find new sources of transportation funding for the short, medium and long-terms.

Attracting and Retaining Skilled Employees: The shortage of skilled employees in Jefferson County and around the State is actually becoming a drag on economic growth. Colorado needs better training for skilled employees. And we need to fix the broken litigation system that is preventing the construction of new, affordable, housing.

Fostering a Strong, Competitive Business Climate: While Jefferson County’s economy is strong today, the Legislature must provide effective economic development incentives, lower regulatory burdens and reduce lawsuits if we are to withstand future downturns.

 

We will keep you updated on the Legislature’s progress on these important business issues through out the 2017 legislative session.

 

Jeff Weist can be contacted at jeff@weistcapitol.com