Merger lane

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It seems as though merger year is upon us. Qwest and CenturyTel, United and Continental, Frontier and Republic—all announced mergers in recent months and unfortunately didn’t deliver or keep headquarters in Denver.

While this gives us all pause, there is some additional information you should know.

Our EDC Chief Tom Clark points out that we have secured 38 headquarters since 2003. Furthermore – what really matters are jobs for Coloradans right now. And, most agree the growth will really come in the smaller companies. Those employers under 100 employees, are slowly adding positions.

Since our mantra is jobs, jobs, jobs, we need to keep our focus there. Don’t get me wrong, if we can have both, we want them, but if we can only have one—we’ll take the jobs every time.

So, now we’ll work hard to show CenturyTel how we will support them and ensure their success in Colorado, so they keep the majority of those 7900 jobs right here.


Kicking off campaign season

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Well, I guess it’s official—we’re entering campaign season (or maybe we’ve been there and I’ve been trying to avoid noticing). In any case, what this means is that campaign finance issues are hot at the state and federal levels. Senate Bill 203 fits right in –it creates new requirements for independent expenditures. Independent expenditures are purchases of advertising or direct mail that take a position on a candidate without the candidate knowing (i.e., independent of the candidate). And, because every advertisement is required to state who paid for it, you can typically tell when the advertisement is coming from the candidate and when it isn’t.

(By the way, this is where I get really happy that the Chamber doesn’t take positions on candidates or get involved in any candidate races.)

What you should know about the bill is that these increased regulations, which are required only for those independent expenditures made by corporations, could chill constitutionally-protected free speech for our members who do participate in these independent expenditures.

The question is, why are we engaging on this issue today? It is the end of the session—so rushing this bill at the last minute doesn’t allow those of you most affected to weigh in with your thoughts. Further, there is no lack of challenges and issues currently facing our state—this seems like a misplaced priority when we all should be focused on the economy and jobs. And, it appears to create an uneven playing field for people who engage in campaigns—one fundamental principle in business is that all we typically ask for is an even playing field and then allow us to compete.


Last days of the 2010 legislative session

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There is basically a week left in the legislature.

There are still dozens of bills to be considered including Senate Bill 191 – Michael Johnston’s bill to increase teacher and principal effectiveness.

Since more than 30 percent of the kids who start high school in Colorado don’t finish, it’s pretty imperative that we do something comprehensive, and do it now.

Nibbling around the edge of education reform makes no sense at all, rather we must enact thoughtful, systematic changes that ensure our children are prepared for the 21st Century and its workforce needs.

Furthermore, Colorado’s outstanding teachers and principals deserve accurate, comprehensive evaluation and they deserve to be rewarded for their performance.

This bill is one of the VERY few meaningful bills that has bi-partisan support. In this extraordinarily partisan environment, that alone is something to celebrate.