Occasionally, issues come up that transcend political affiliation, where what is right for the people of our great state trumps partisan sparring. I believe that these job-killing proposals being pushed by Rep. Jared Polis present us with one of those moments, and it is in the spirit of bipartisan concern for the economic health of Colorado that I ask John Hickenlooper to join me in opposition to the basket full of proposed ballot measures, or any grand bargain compromise, which would hurt the state's economy, which is already sliding due to increased government regulation.
John Hickenlooper has been letting Polis and his friends manipulate him into compromising away Colorado citizens' property rights and potentially wasting taxpayer dollars in a special legislative session that would be used as a tool to ram through his anti-growth program. One individual, regardless of wealth or title, should never be allowed to impose their personal agenda on the entire state, yet that is what the governor is allowing Polis to do.
Make no mistake - "compromise" is not what Polis and his radical special interest allies are interested in achieving. If they win this round, they'll simply demand more later. They want exactly what Hickenlooper is giving them: a state law that will slowly dismantle Colorado's crucial oil and gas industry, without debate, discussion, or amendment. It is just wrong.
Any 'deal' is not necessarily a good deal. The "compromise" bill that Polis is trying to inflict on Coloradans, with no amendments, would be devastating for our economy. Like the ballot initiatives he is funding, it would create a chaotic patchwork of regulatory environments around Colorado one where the rules change from county to county, and from municipality to municipality. Business relies on stability and certainty; what Polis is introducing would bring uncertainty into our energy economy.
This will be an enormous disincentive to investment, especially for the energy industry that requires such a large front-end capital investment.
What's more, these "grand bargains" that Polis and Hickenlooper are trying to force onto the people of this state would prop open the door of our local communities for professional litigation firms and special-interest lawyers. Suddenly, local economic development would become the purview of the courts.
Even worse, the proposal would nakedly deprive people of their private property rights. Nothing is more critical, and more central, to our economic prosperity and personal liberty than the recognition and protection of one's right to access, enjoy, or benefit from his or her own property.
The proposals we are being told to swallow would allow government to arbitrarily deny our fellow citizens access to their property, without compensation. This is wrong at any level of government.
Regulating oil and gas development in Colorado is broken. It should not take months, years even, to secure a drilling permit. All that does is keep an important industry from creating jobs and opportunity for our people. Colorado's energy industry is continually losing market share to other states, such as Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Our neighbors - especially Utah and Wyoming - are experiencing real economic growth and opportunity, while Colorado has slipped to middle-of-the-pack status - principally because of the uncertainty of ever-changing government regulations.
Colorado can and should do much, much better. We should be working together to find solutions for fixing the situation - not exacerbating the problem.
Therefore, I am asking the governor to join me in opposing both a special session "compromise", and the anti-job, anti-energy ballot measures that would each serve to chase a critical industry out of our state and create a hyperlitigious, patchwork regulatory environment.
I am asking the governor to stand with me to protect the jobs of thousands of hardworking Coloradans, and to help ensure adequate funding for schools, public safety and infrastructure by opposing measures that will chase revenue-generating economic drivers from Colorado.
Please, John Hickenlooper, join with me in doing what's right for our fellow citizens, and let's stand together to reject a call for a special session to rubber-stamp a bad deal, and to oppose ill-conceived ballot initiatives that would run our economy into the ground.
Rancher, community banker and former U.S. representative, Bob Beauprez is the Republican nominee for governor of Colorado in 2014.