Gov. Hickenlooper has pegged his re-election efforts on the so-called “fact” that Colorado has grown economically, but this morning, The Washington Post‘s headline forcefully injected doubt into those claims. Headline: There are zero states where the percentage of people employed has gone up since the recession.
The headline is referring to a Pew study that found the following:
“In 2007, leading up to the Great Recession, 79.9 percent of people ages 25 to 54 in the United States had a job. In the 12 months ending June 2014, five years after the recession ended, only 76.2 percent of people in that age group were working.”
A few percentage points may not sound like a big deal, but it is to the families who are struggling to make ends meet here in Colorado. Pew deemed 19 states’ ongoing unemployment statistically insignificant. Colorado wasn’t one of those states. Translation: Colorado is still hurting.
While our families are important, this finding also has consequences for our state budgets, according to Pew:
This finding has significant budgetary consequences for states:
- Without paychecks, people pay less income tax and tend to buy less, reducing sales and business income tax revenue.
- Unemployed people frequently need more services, such as Medicaid and other safety-net programs, increasing costs at a time when state governments may have less tax revenue.
And, that brings us back to Hick. He can tout what a great economy Colorado is experiencing, but all that does is drive a wedge between him and voters who know better and who are experiencing a different reality.