A recently-surfaced 501c(4), Inspire Colorado, is busy pushing positive economic messages into social media to support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s uphill re-election effort. Its website has tons of shareable memes in support of Hickenlooper and the economy, boasting concepts like job growth, innovation, labor supply and more. Let’s dismantle this a bit.
First of all, unfortunately, John Hickenlooper cannot take credit for Colorado’s great labor supply or its innovation. The natural beauty of Colorado attracts highly-skilled workers from across the country and the fact that they’re innovative should be no shock. It would almost be like Hick taking credit for Colorado having a hard-working labor force. Try as he might, nothing he’s done has inspired hard work – or innovation for that matter.
But, economic growth – he could be responsible for that, right? Wrong. Here are some stats on Hickenlooper’s economy:
- Pew reports that there are zero states in which the percentage of people employed has gone up. Zero. Not even Colorado. We are still lagging in economic recovery.
- Everyone was excited last month when the jobs report showed that Colorado had added 3,000 new jobs…until we all realized it was all government hiring. Sad trombone. So, not only is the private sector not hiring, but now the private sector is saddled with more government spending that they must fund.
- Speaking of, Hick has overseen an unprecedented expansion of state government. At one point, the government expanded 10% over a nine month stretch. Not even liberal bastions like Illinois and New York can boast of such expansion.
- Since 2012, the rest of the country received more venture capital funds to aid with startups. Not Colorado. The turbulent political environment caused by a lack of leadership by Hick is causing investors to flee. This means that alllllll those innovators that Colorado has are spinning their wheels waiting for investment that may never come. Thanks, Hick.
- Colorado is falling behind its neighbors in economic growth.
- Labor participation remains low, meaning that unemployment may be coming down, but that’s largely due to government hiring and people removing themselves from the workforce entirely. That’s not a good thing.
- Since Hick took the reins, Colorado has fallen in several economic indicators.
We’re not trying to be Debbie Downers here, but Coloradans deserve to be armed with facts, not fluff, when it comes to their economic well-being. Hickenlooper’s uncertain regulatory regime in Colorado is gunking up our state’s economic engine. Unfortunately, we’re feeling less inspired and more skeptical when it comes to Inspire Colorado.