Earlier this week, in a listing of top states for business, CNBC ranked Colorado eighth. Colorado received accolades for our tech-savvy workforce. In fact, our second-highest-rated workforce weighted our score high enough to catapult us into the top two.
That’s the good news.
Now the bad news, or the rest of the story as they say. In the same CNBC rankings list, Colorado fell from 37 to 38 in the Cost of Business category. We also fell from 11 to 29 in “Business Friendliness,” and tumbled from 17 to 30 in “Education.”
The cost of doing business is increasing. The business climate is less friendly and our education system is struggling. Colorado is not OK!
Need more evidence? The Common Sense Institute tallied the total number of taxes and fees facing Coloradans, and it’s staggering.
New fee increases have completely wiped out income tax cuts voters passed in 2020.
How long can the talent of our workforce carry us to the top of the heap? I’ve asked the question before, how much more can we take?
At some point, issues ranging from the high cost of living (have you seen the rising prices at the gas pump or the rapidly increasing median home price?) to traffic congestion, to rising crime rates to the lack of good solid leadership, will make it impossible to attract the best and the brightest.
Consider our leadership’s track record around COVID that was just uncovered.
Ben Markus at Colorado Public Radio reported a nursing home scandal — not in New York but right here in Colorado.
According to the story, “Gov. Jared Polis and the leader of the state’s health department never revealed to the public that the state’s lab was overwhelmed or that the state’s nursing homes had become, however briefly, the deadliest in the nation.”
Perhaps even more shocking is the revelation about the governor’s much-touted “strike force” never amounting to more than a listing of job postings and unfulfilled actions to address the issue.
They did however lean on a back-door political connection, a 25-year-old tech entrepreneur, for COVID tests that didn’t work so well. Then it took a whopping 17 days to pull the tests after they found out.
In the meantime, a LOT more of our loved ones got sick or passed away in Colorado nursing homes because of it.
Gov. Polis has yet to comment on the story, offer any explanation or make a move toward reform to ensure this never happens again.
That’s not the kind of leadership that inspires people to do business and raise a family in Colorado.
But here’s some better news. I’ve said it before and I believe it to my core. Coloradans are resilient. And there’s time to change the ending of the story if we find leaders in our community that have bold ideas and lots of grit to take the lead on change.
And boy are their leaders with grit to be found in Colorado!
Just last week, Rachel joined me on Heidi’s Colorful Colorado podcast. Rachel is a Boulder mom (and a second-degree black belt) who is passionate about teaching self-defense. Her enthusiasm and passion for our community is infectious! What a difference she is making in young women’s lives here.
I spent the morning interviewing my friend Steve for the podcast, a sheriff who’s got the grit to tell it like it is about the rising crime in Colorado. We toured the jail and talked about how to keep our families and neighborhoods safe, and help people living a life of crime turn things around.
Finally, I spoke with Matt, a college professor who hosts a zoom get together each Friday when school is in session to have discussions about polarizing issues, and help folks see things from both sides. Matt is facing down cancel culture and modeling how to have tough discussions without it ending in tragedy.
Folks like Matt, Steve and Rachel, with their resolve and their heart for our state, will help us start shooting for the stars again.
Each making a difference in their own way, like the Butterfly Effect.
What’s that? It’s a small change in conditions that can give us completely different outcomes. And boy do we need different outcomes. One tiny movement at a time.
Heidi Ganahl is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, author and at-large member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, to which she was elected as a Republican in 2016.