The quarterly Leeds Business Confidence Index, a report that measures the confidence of Colorado business leaders across six broad economic categories, fell in the first quarter of 2013 and is on the precipice of slipping into negative territory for the second time since John Hickenlooper was sworn in as governor.

The first quarter of 2013 marked the fourth consecutive quarter that the comprehensive reading declined, this time registering an overall level of 51.3.  A reading below 50 indicates a negative overall outlook for Colorado’s economic conditions.  Compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, this quarter’s outlook trended lower for the state economy, profits, new hiring activity, and planned capital expenditures.

The rate of employment growth and the level of government debt were two major concerns cited by business leaders in this quarter’s report.  Interestingly, the Democrat-controlled legislature is pouring resources into unrelated matters such as gun control.  In matters directly related to the cost of government, the Democrats are actually moving in the opposite direction, fanning the economic headwinds with items such as the the bill to facilitate the unionization of firefighters that passed out of the state senate last week.  Even the Denver Post wrote an editorial urging the governor to veto this bill that would further strain the budgets of local governments across the state.

Coloradans deserve a true prosperity agenda, a serious approach to solving the issues that are top of mind for families, students, and businesses.  Unfortunately, the Democrats have decided to spend their political capital on social issues, paybacks to unions, and growing the cost and scope of government.