House Republicans’ Platform – Economy

Unlike the Jobs plank, which is focused on directly creating jobs, the Economy plank recognizes that in the long run (and even in the short-run), the best way to create jobs is to revitalize the economy as a whole.  The private sector creates jobs, so let’s make it easier for markets to operate.  Here’s how:

  • Incentivize large-scale business investment in manufacturing, aerospace and other high-wage sectors by phasing out the Business Personal Property Tax.

This is, perhaps, the worst tax we have in the state, among the most destructive, and phasing it out – now, when the projected deficit is manageable – will let the economy grow to help fill the gaps in the out years.  If the economy doesn’t grow, extracting more money from it for government isn’t going to be possible, anyway.

  • Improve the state commitment to biotechnology and biosciences by building on a 2008 package that provided some $26 million assistance for Colorado start-up companies24 and research institutions seeking to commercialize new technology.

Yes, we saw this before, under Jobs.  But it’s worth repeating: research doesn’t do any good unless it’s commercialized, and when it is, it helps bring down costs, save lives, and raise our standard of living, as well as provide the sorts of jobs that a well-educated state like Colorado, and a well-educated district like HD-6 can take advantage of.

  • Revisit and revise the new oil and gas regulations that have contributed to a steeper decline for the natural gas industry in Colorado than in nearby states.
  • Review Colorado’s regulatory environment, and support sensible expansion of Colorado’s coal production.

Not only does this take away direct jobs, it also derails indirect job creation.  The legislature slapped a new, 2.9% tax on energy for industrial purposes, something that had never existed in the history of Colorado sales taxes.  That tax will take an average of $2000 out of the pockets of employees in a Pueblo steel mill with a profit-sharing plan, according to the Denver Post. We have abundant energy resources here in the state, let’s make the best, environmentally-friendly use of them.

  • Prioritize infrastructure investment which coordinates government and free enterprise initiatives to ensure a cutting edge multi-model transportation system — an essential component to a thriving economy.

OK, this is a little wordy.  But infrastructure matters.  I’m not a big fan of big, shiny, inflexible, expensive, and usually empty, commuter rail systems.  But if we want to find a way to make commuter rail work, like it does with the Virginia Rail Express and the MARC trains around DC, let’s at least see if the tracks exist and some company is willing to bring in the rolling stock to give it a try.

There are also two suggestions for limiting health insurance and health care costs, which are creating an increasing burden on the state’s employers and individuals:

  • Protect employers and consumers by enhancing Colorado’s protections against junk lawsuits.
    • Require plaintiffs in medical malpractice suits to demonstrate a bona fide medical and legal issue before a lawsuit can proceed to the cost-intensive trial phase.
  • Expand access to affordable health care choices by lifting restrictions on the purchase of health insurance across state lines

Prove that you have something really wrong, and don’t assume that bureaucrats in Colorado know more than bureaucrats everywhere else about what citizens need or want in insurance.  In 2009, HB09-1256, which would have done just that, was killed by the current legislative majority.  I’d add one thing more: a moratorium on new health insurance mandates without an analysis of how much they’ll cost consumers, and an analysis of how much existing mandates already add to our insurance bills.  My opponent voted to kill such a bill, HB10-1154, in the most recent session, showing a deep lack of understanding about the avaialbility of free lunches.

You can tie down an economy through a thousand little strings, like Gulliver at the hands of the Lilliputians, or you can find a way to free it by starting to cut those strings.  I think it’s clear which course is the more productive.

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