Governor Hickenlooper presented a multi-tiered economic development plan this week, called the Colorado Blueprint.
The plan consists of six major initiatives, each containing four more specific tasks. The Blueprint is the product of 50 meetings held with officials from all of Colorado’s 64 counties, which gathered over 13,000 comments.
For more information on the details of the plan, see this article written by Andrew Gibson for CBSDenver.com.
I believe the plan is very ambitious, but it is an appropriately ambitious response to the one key issue that Coloradans of every political stripe care about, the economy.
However, as always, the devil is in the details. And it’s not so much the details of the plan that need to be debated, but how we accomplish those goals.
While I admire the process that included county officials from throughout the state, I am more curious about what a certain group of state officials will think about the Blueprint, namely the State Legislature.
The Governor’s office is the absolute right place for this initiative to begin. The Governor is in the unique position to call for this kind of information gathering. Building as large of a consensus on exactly what we need to do to boost our economy is a great idea.
But again, the problem is that none of these six goals can be even somewhat accomplished without resources and changes from the legislature.
The legislature may not necessarily stand in the way of every initiative, but even in its most agreeable mood, it will make finding ultimate solutions difficult.
Even if the Governor’s party dominated both the House and the Senate, current fiscal and budget issues would hinder a great deal of the Blueprint goals.
Take for example number five, “Train and educate the workforce of the future”. This sounds simple enough, but even if every legislator agreed on exactly how to accomplish this, how to fund that initiative is harder than agreeing on how to go about solving the problem.
I imagine Governor Hickenlooper is not ignorant to these pesky details. And frankly, there’s only so much he can do about it. But he made a political master stroke in the creation of the Blueprint that may work to mitigate problems with the legislature.
In creating the Blueprint, Hickenlooper included input from Coloradans throughout the state. Input from Democratic counties, Republican counties, farming counties and industrial counties. While all of those officials didn’t agree on everything, they agreed enough to create some consensus.
I imagine that Hickenlooper will be quick to remind legislators from both parties that their own constituents helped craft these ideas. If legislators from either party find too much fault with the concepts, it would be fairly easy to claim those same legislators are against grassroots movements from their own constituents. No one likes to be against grassroots movements.
Those arguments could be very effective with a contentious legislature.
But, let’s not be too negative while the ink is still drying on the Colorado Blueprint. Creating such an ambitious document requires a lot work and including so many people required political skill.
All I am saying is that it will require even more political skill to get these initiatives to the finish line.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.