This week Douglas County was named one of the healthiest counties in America. Headlines across Colorado and the nation touted the ranking by US News and World Report.
I love seeing stories like this. I’m proud of our state and the people who live here. We’re independent. We’re entrepreneurial. We embrace the outdoors. We’re home to Olympians, celebrate the Leadville 100 and heartily cheer for our favorite teams — ahem, Go Buffs. Heck, we climb 14ers for fun. Now, the world knows that we’re healthy, too.
It’s the kind of headline that makes me happy I am raising my children here, that’s the kind of national news we want to make!
There’s another headline this week that has me worried though: “We’re resilient but how much more can we take?”
Both national and local news reported that companies across the nation are recruiting and hiring people from 49 states to fill jobs and work remotely. These companies are hiring everywhere but Colorado. Unbelievable.
The story on the front page of the Wall Street Journal named companies from Johnson & Johnson to commercial real estate group CBRE among the list refusing to hire Coloradans. These employers are recruiting positions from “scientist” to “project manager” to “sales specialist” but Coloradans need not apply. According to coloradoexcluded.com, 125 companies are avoiding hiring in Colorado – that’s 279 job listings.
At issue is a new law signed by Gov. Polis. The law went into effect in January and requires employers to post salary ranges for each job posting. Compliance requirements are vague and penalties for non-compliance are high.
This is ridiculous. Coloradans are being excluded from good-paying jobs at a time when so many people are struggling to recover from the economic shutdown. Why? Because our elected officials have engaged in another example of government overreach. They have made it impossible for companies to keep up with regulations. Colorado — not California or Illinois or New York — is the outlier. Colorado’s competitiveness is sinking and it’s costing jobs.
We can’t afford that. Our economy here is fragile; this is a hit we don’t need right now.
According to the latest job numbers, Colorado’s workforce has been on its way to recovering from the worst of the recession, but a lot of progress remains to be made.
For instance, this recession disproportionately impacted women, especially moms. Dubbed the “She-cession,” the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for moms in Colorado was 76.2% in Jan. ’20 and 69.4% in May ‘21, down 6.8 percentage points.
Now more than ever, moms need to feel confident our jobs are OK, or there are good jobs available if we need to switch to adapt to this new way of life.
Think about the moms you know. They lost their job or had to quit their job to stay home and help their kids with online school through the COVID shutdown. They’re struggling to re-enter the workforce. They see a great opportunity for a good-paying job to work remotely. The real life impact of Gov. Polis’ new law — that a mom doesn’t qualify simply because of her zip code.
In other words, Colorado needs the jobs that Polis and his party have turned away with their regulatory overreach.
It’s time that our elected officials realize the laws they pass have real-life impacts. Every onerous regulation comes with a cost — lost jobs, more red tape and money taken from the family budget. The costs are taking a toll. In fact, earlier this year, Common Sense Institute estimated the cumulative cost of new taxes and fees will reach a whopping $1.8 billion in the next three to five years. That’s another huge bill coming to small business and families across Colorado.
It’s time to stand up and tell them we know best how to run our businesses, not them. We are being taxed and regulated into oblivion. We can’t even get staff to show up as they’re paid by our politicians to stay home, we’re being saddled with wildly expensive ineffective social programs and told to manage how our staff get to work. They are killing job creators here.
Can we stop this madness? It’s time for a common sense comeback in Colorado. Let’s start with protecting jobs, not giving them away.
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.