Biz gov gets a standing O

Gov. John Hickenlooper recently told a CACI audience that his Administration wants to lighten the regulatory burden on businesses so they can create jobs and prosper.

Colorado has to become more pro-business, the new Governor said, while still protecting land, water and public safety. More tax revenue will be generated for the state and the economy recovers and companies hire more workers. The “economic health” of the state depends on “business success,” he said. 

Hickenlooper received a standing ovation from the more than 400 CACI members before and after his speech. 

The Governor said that state government most become “more efficient” and businesses also have to be “held to the highest standards” in terms of their operations. He said he has hired Tim Wolf, a former executive with The Coors Brewing Company, to study state government and develop recommendations to make budget cuts and increase efficiencies. Wolf worked as the chief financial officers for Coors for a decade, during which the company first merged with Molson Brewing Company and then became part of a joint venture with SABMiller, called MillerCoors. 

Hickenlooper also said that he learned from his travels around Colorado during the gubernatorial campaign and during a four-day trip the weekend immediately after he was inaugurated that the citizens have no appetite for increasing taxes and fees. Consequently, he and the General Assembly will “have to make some very difficult decisions” to balance the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July1st that has a projected $1 billion shortfall.

He told CACI members that his Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OED/IT) will be Dwayne Romero, a Snowmass developer. The Governor’s Office issued a press release about the naming of Romero to head OED/IT.

Governor Hickenlooper explained his bottom-up, economic development strategy, which calls on the state’s 64 counties to come up with their individual economic development plans, which will be consolidated first into 14 regional plans and then eventually into a state-level strategy. He said he wants to harness “the entrepreneurial energy” of local businesses by focusing on the economic ingredients that contribute to their success. On the day that he was inaugurated, January 11th, the Governor signed an Executive Order to create the economic development plan, which was highlighted in a press release from his office.

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