Colorado’s economic development push hit a heavy roadblock on Monday as Colorado Democrats continued their push to outlaw certain types of standard firearm accessories.
This is not a simple discussion about fundamental constitutional rights, it is also a question of how our state is viewed by job-creators.
With the casting of votes, Democrats propose chasing from our state a growing manufacturing business leaving more than two-hundred families without work. Their purposeful actions also leave another five-hundred families whose jobs will be left hanging in the balance as other manufacturers will certainly follow suit.
Colorado already has an eco-devo black-eye with the legalization of marijuana. Now, Democrats look to level another blow to our slow, sputtering economic recovery by rejecting good-paying manufacturing jobs and over $85 million in private sector investment. It’s almost become a joke among economic development outfits from other states. If Colorado doesn’t want you, come to Alabama, come to Texas, come to Louisiana.
There is no doubt that, if legislation pushed by statehouse Democrats becomes law, the Erie, Colorado-based manufacturer Magpul will leave our state. In a message on an official company site they posted,
“We don’t play political games. We’ve made our position very clear, very publicly. We would not survive lying to our customer base, nor would we ever consider it. If you pass this, we will leave…we’ve already got plans in place to get PMAG manufacturing moved rapidly, and the rest of the company will follow.”
Any reasonable employer now thinks the same. What happens if my product, if my enterprise falls out of political favor? Will the political winds turn against me and the men and women employed by my company? What happens to the families who rely on these jobs – to the children who will be uprooted from their schools and their friends? Why would an employer even consider relocating its manufacturing operation to a state that is willing to change course so quickly? Businesses cannot grow and prosper in an economic environment so fickle toward employers.
The Colorado of today is wholly unwelcoming to manufacturing, and that is a very real problem for our future economic growth and the health of Colorado’s middle class. I visited with a local businessman who mentioned that his attempts to expand his manufacturing operation have been consistently stalled by state regulators. The permit would’ve taken less than four months to process only six short years ago. Today he’s told that the same type of permit will take upward of 18 months. Over a year of jobs and investment sitting on the sidelines because Colorado has become so inhospitable to manufacturing jobs.
Republicans and Democrats alike point to the importance of a robust manufacturing sector to bolster and expand our state’s middle class. The difference is this – Democrats in Colorado continue to make life harder on working families by driving good-paying jobs from our state. Governor Hickenlooper hosts press conferences to welcome 50 or 100 jobs to Colorado. Any number of new jobs is rightfully celebrated.
The question directly in front of legislative Democrats is whether they’ll force pink slips on hundreds of Colorado families with the casting of a vote. Will Democrats side with these honest, hard working families who reflect the value our state places on good-paying, home-grown jobs and economic development, or will they side with an extreme political agenda that forces hundreds of Colorado families to the unemployment line? We’ll all know the answer soon.
We all know that the eyes of the economic development community are watching closely to the path Colorado chooses.
Rep. Frank McNulty was Speaker of the Colorado House for the 68th General Assembly. He represents Highlands Ranch, Colorado