We all know Hickenlooper’s progressive record from last year, and we all know from The New York Times and his State of the State address that he is trying to reposition himself as the moderate brewpub/average Joe that he has made his political caricature.
Only problem? Records don’t lie. Rep. Libby Szabo illustrates the disconnect between Hickenlooper on the stump, and Hickenlooper behind his desk for the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover:
“In 2012 alone, the state promulgated more than 14,000 pages of new rules….”
Hickenlooper’s loves to cite his “Pits and Peeves” program in showing how business-friendly he is. The program has supposedly cut miles of red-tape for Colorado businesses. From his State of the State this year:
“Through a statewide effort called Pits and Peeves, we have also reviewed, modified or repealed nearly 11,000 state rules — many of which were redundant and flat-out dumb.”
11,000! Wow, that is a lot of red-tape that Hickenlooper has cut through for us! Maybe he’s not as bad as we thought he was! (2014 and we still don’t have our sarcasm punctuation marks yet…)
Oh wait, maybe we should check that figure, Hickenlooper hasn’t has been the most forthright in the figures he tosses around. The big qualifier of Hick’s statement – those three words he shoehorns in right before that big 11,000 figure: repealed, modified, or even just reviewed.
If we look at the original report they published at the beginning of 2012, we get this interesting tidbit:
“…the Department of Human Services has recently completed a comprehensive review of more than 4,300 rules, resulting in a recommendation for the repeal of 81 rules.” [the Peak emphasis]
Just 81 rules repealed of over 4,300.
They may be looking at a lot of red tape, but there ain’t a lot of cutting going on.
By the beginning of 2013 the number of rules they had reviewed was up to 7,580. While they claim half of those rules had been modified in some way, they never clarify exactly what “modify” means. And, as we’ve seen Hickenlooper and his administration play fast and loose with numbers, we here at the Peak have the feeling those “modifications” were a lot more should we include or exclude the oxford comma here than substantial changes that benefit businesses.
Which brings us back to Rep. Szabo’s fact from above: while Hickenlooper’s people looked at roughly 3,000 rules in 2012 (of which, we can guess only a small percentage actually got repealed), they added more than 14,000 pages of rules and regulations to businesses in the same time period.
With all those rules and regulations taking hold in 2013, it’s no wonder we slipped from 4th in private job growth in 2012, to 19th last year.