Governor Hickenlooper's pro-business leanings have always separated him from his party's legislators, but that gap is now widening into a chasm. Between statements that it's "inconceivable" that fracking affects groundwater and government doesn't create jobs, Hickenlooper has taken many stances that do not gel well with his party's liberal base. That gap between Hick and legislative Dems has created a situation where Hick gets nothing done legislatively.
As we think about it, no wonder Hickenlooper has spent so much time dodging anything that looks like a major public policy initiative this legislative session. Hick loves to be viewed as a moderate with a keen political sales pitch. He knows that the Democrats in the Legislature and especially the Senate don’t give a hoot about what he wants, so why bother trying to do something of consequence when legislative Democrats have no plans to give him what he wants?
Why risk losing?
An article in the Denver Business Journal highlights the latest example of the gap between Governor Hickenlooper and Democrats in the Legislature killing another legislative priority for the Governor.
Ed Sealover reports:
It’s been more than 13 months now since Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said during his first State of the State address in 2011 that he wanted legislative proposals that affect business operations to carry a fiscal-impact statement explaining what such bills could mean for companies.
Judging by the way the Democrats voted on a pair of Republican bills aimed at addressing that subject over the past two days, it seems obvious that they either have forgotten that or that members of Hickenlooper’s party never agreed with him in the first place.
Hickenlooper's exact words from his State of the State were:
In the days ahead, I would like to see if we could look at adding a regulatory impact statement to new legislation. Just as we require a fiscal note for every new bill that estimates the costs to state government, we could also include an estimation of the cost to businesses of additional regulations.
Yet, much like Hickenlooper's stated intention to run legislation to reduce red tape for businesses, nothing has happened since Hickenlooper's speech.
That is, until this week, when Senator Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) and Rep. Larry Liston (R-CO Springs) ran bills in their respective chambers to have businesses and unions give feedback on the cost of legislation.
Democrats killed Senator Mitchell's bill in committee, but Rep. Liston's made it through the Republican controlled House committee with the vote of Democrat Rep. John Soper (D-Thornton), although Soper had indicated his support was due to the union provision in Liston's bill that Mitchell's lacked.
What is going on here?
As Congressman Cory Gardner pointed out to an EPA bureaucrat in a now-viral video, it's ludicrous for government to propose new rules and regulation without any regard to the impact on employment.
Democrats have repeatedly said they are "laser-focused" on jobs this session, yet they are blocking legislation that would help better inform their understanding of the impact of legislation on jobs.
Their vote to block a business-impact analysis on legislation is a vote to remain ignorant of the effect of their actions.
And a vote to reject a key element of Governor Hickenlooper's political persona.
With allies like that, is it any wonder why Hickenlooper’s economic plan is self styled “To Be Determined”?
Hell, we half don’t blame him for hiding in his office. The guy has no inkling about how to get the ingrates and intransigents in his own party to move his agenda, so WTF…why even try?