Governor Hickenlooper has deservedly won praise for his idea of a “regulatory impact statement” for new regulations. Such a statement would estimate the costs to business of new regulations, and be a good step towards an actual cost-benefit analysis of new rules. Legislative Council already does something similar in the form of fiscal notes to new legislation. (Such a statement would only really be of use if the processes for determining the costs were as open as the results; it might be all to easy for a bureaucracy to game the system, or for large businesses to underestimate the costs to smaller competitors.)
So it was particularly interesting to see the following statement in this weekend’s Denver Business Journal from State Senator Cheri Jahn:
“When legislation comes through, the very first thing I am going to look at is: How will it effect my business and my ability to operate and to expand and to maintain what I am doing.”
“And if it is going to hurt me, I am not going to support it.”
Leaving aside the furor that would erupt if a Republican were to have said this – maybe only Jahn can go to China, so to speak – the sentiment is fine one.
Sen. Jahn serves on the Business, Labor, and Technology Committee, which has a 4-3 Democrat majority. If she really wants to have the information necessary to make the calculation she claims to want to make, perhaps she could sponsor the legislation required to make this happen. If she can’t be persuaded to do that, perhaps Sen. Shawn Mitchell could get her to vote for it. If it were to pass committee 4-3, it would certainly Senate Democrats in a bind on a floor vote.
As for the House, in the past, Democrats have balked at even estimating the cost of new health insurance mandates. This year, they wouldn’t have the votes.