A Message from Earl Wright, CSPR Chairman of the Board
In 2018, we achieved our mission and our voice was heard.
In a year filled with election rhetoric and spin, we brought sound fiscal analysis, economic modeling and the truth to Coloradans on a list of issues. I encourage you to review our entire annual report. It was quite a year of making an impact.
You share in our success and we sincerely appreciate your support and your faith in our mission. With your help, we delivered sound data and facts. Along with our REMI partners, Colorado Concern, the Colorado Association of Realtors, the Colorado Bankers Association and the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, we produced six detailed studies – more than we have ever produced in a single year. Our work provided a comprehensive look at the economic impact of public employee pensions, education, growth, energy, taxes, transportation and the state budget.
Perhaps as important as our analysis was our ability to reach Coloradans. We participated in dozens of events with chambers of commerce, trade associations and business organizations across Colorado to disseminate information. We grew our impact on social media and we worked with local outlets to report on our studies. In total, over fifty opinion columns and 150 news stories relayed information about our studies and data findings. Our work made a difference. The proof came in improved legislative outcomes and sound decisions at the ballot box.
For instance, in May we partnered with 20 organizations to produce an interactive, web-based voter guide for the 2018 gubernatorial race. The Business Guide used the REMI model to answer a vital question: What if Colorado high school graduates went on to obtain the level of post-secondary education and training needed to meet the demands of Colorado’s economy? Working with our partners, we also included voter polling results, a statewide employer survey, and a candidate survey.
The Guide was released at an event featuring gubernatorial candidates and more than 200 business leaders. Members of the media featured the study in news coverage and editorials. In addition, the study served as a significant talking point in forums and voter outreach around the state.
Another first for CSPR this year, we provided Colorado voters with a ballot guide that included detailed analysis of the biggest issues decided on Election Day. We believe the more informed policymakers and voters are, the better the decisions will be made for Colorado.
2018 also marked continued growth for our board of directors, as we welcomed Byron Haselden and Robin Wise to the board, improving our industry diversity and collective expertise. We also named the first recipient of the Terry J. Stevinson Fellowship, Zhao Chang. Ms. Chang holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Energy and Economics from the Colorado School of Mines and made a significant contribution to our work this year.
Again, thank you for your ongoing support and thank you for all you do to make Colorado great. In 2019, we will continue to provide fact-based research, thoughtful conversations, and sound fiscal policy. We look forward to the continued fulfillment of our mission.
One Step Further on PERA Reform
Released March 2018
Amid the most hotly debated issue of the 2018 Colorado Legislative Session, CSPR and the REMI Partnership released a detailed study on the financial outlook for PERA (The Public Employees Retirement Association). It also detailed sound reform options that stopped the decades long increase in taxpayer contributions while maintaining a defined benefit plan for the state’s public workforce.
- In 2017, the combined annual contribution from school districts, state and local governments and universities grew to $1.6B, doubling the cost from just a decade earlier.
- Despite the increase in costs, the unfunded liability continued to grow, totaling over $32B.
The report detailed changes that could save nearly $4B over the next 10 years, while allowing for more conservative assumptions on the target rate of return and paying off the unfunded liability within the desired 30-year window.
What if Colorado Schools Were #1?
Released May 2018
To bring the discussion of education to the forefront of the 2018 gubernatorial race, CSPR partnered with Colorado Succeeds and 20 other organizations, to host a forum that brought together candidates to address their vision for education.
If next year’s 12th grade class achieved a level of education proportional to the state’s workforce needs, an additional 6,200 students would go on to obtain some form of postsecondary education.
The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Proposition 112
Released July 2018
In response to a proposed ballot measure that would restrict new oil and gas development on 85% of surface land in Colorado, CSPR and the REMI Partners led a Colorado School of Mines peer-reviewed study on the potential economic impacts to the state’s economy should it pass. Given CSPR was the only organization to study the impacts of Proposition 112, the results of the study were cited extensively by news outlets across the state.
- The study found that by 2030 the proposed increased setback requirement would eliminate between 44% and 57% of all oil and gas production.
- By 2030 the state would lose up to 148,000 jobs across all sectors and $9B in state and local tax revenue over the next twelve years, if the measure were passed.
Amendment 73: The Economic Impacts of a $1.6B Tax Increase to Spend on Education
Released September 2018
Amendment 73 proposed changing multiple elements within the Colorado tax code, including moving the state’s income tax from a flat tax to a graduated tax, while promising no improvements to school performance. The findings of the study were used to illustrate the impacts of greatly increasing taxes on small businesses, families, large corporations and home owners that would result while statistical modeling showed no correlation between increased per-pupil spending and improved graduation rates.
- An unintended consequence of the proposed change in property tax law would have likely led to lower revenue to local tax districts other than schools.
- The top marginal tax rate in Colorado would have jumped from 37th to 8th highest in the country, impacting a lot of small business owners.
- Corporate income taxes would have jumped from 43rd lowest to 31st nationally.
Economic Impact of Restricting Housing Growth to No More Than 1% in Colorado
Release June 2018
Following the 2017 report in response to a proposed 1% growth cap in the city of Lakewood, CSPR and the REMI Partners released an economic impact study on a citizen led ballot proposal to impose a 1% growth cap across 10 front range counties. Simultaneous to the release of the study, the proposal sponsor chose to remove the initiative, avoiding significant economic loss as detailed in the study.
- A 1% growth cap would reduce the number of new units built against current baseline projections by around 158,000 to 240,000 units.
- The reduction in new housing investment alone would reduce employment by between 35,000 to 55,000 jobs annually and put even greater pressure on housing prices as demand would continue to outpace supply.
Investing in Colorado’s Transportation Infrastructure
Released September 2018
To give Colorado voters a more direct guide to compare and contrast the two proposed transportation funding measures, CSPR and the REMI Partners released a report providing a closer look at Proposition 110 and 109. Proposition 110 imposed an increase in the state’s sales tax and Proposition 109 required the use of existing funds. The study examined each measure and reported highlights.
- Given the current cost to the Colorado economy of over $7.1B annually, urgent action is needed to improve our transportation network.
- In 2017 only 5.8% of all spending by CDOT was on expanding the state’s road network. 84% was on maintenance and operations.
- The increase in sales tax in Proposition 110 would have increased revenue by over $18 annually for the next 20 years to be used on transportation projects across the state. Proposition 109 would have required an additional $260 million to be allocated to transportation projects from the general fund, that otherwise would have required some other purpose.
Released September 2018
Colorado Budget – Then and Now
Released December 2018
The 2018 release of Colorado Budget: Then and Now offers an updated “big picture” view of how spending by the State of Colorado has changed over the past 20 years. Leading into the 2019 legislative session, it is important to be aware of the history of spending and the entirety of the budget, along with a focus on singular issues. These charts should prompt more questions about the details of “Why” and help frame the perpetual debate that shapes the priorities of our state government spending.
- Cash funds have grown from just 10% of all appropriations in FY 1999 to 29% in FY 2019.
- Over the last decade, the share of general fund spending on Health Care Policy and Financing has increased by over 4%, while the share of education has dropped by over 6%.
- In real 2018 dollars, both general fund spending per capita and total appropriations per capita have increased.
Expanding Our Reach
A partnership of public and private organizations announced in July 2013 the formation of a collaboration to provide Colorado lawmakers, policymakers, and business leaders with greater insight into the economic impact of public policy decisions that face the state. The 2018 partners included the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, The Colorado Association of REALTORS, Colorado Bankers Association, Denver South Economic Development Partnership, and Colorado Concern.
Terry J. Stevinson Fellowship
In July 2018, the first Terry J. Stevinson Fellowship recipient Zhao Chang was named. Ms. Chang is a recent graduate of the Colorado School of Mines Mineral and Energy Economics Master’s Program. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Petroleum Engineering. Ms. Chang was instrumental in supporting 2018 research and co-authored several studies.
About the Fellowship:
The Terry J. Stevinson Research Fellowship is a year-long commitment. As an organization dedicated to developing deep insights into critical policy issues, with a strong emphasis on understanding the full economic and fiscal ramifications of policy choices, the Research Fellow is responsible for supporting the public facing research that CSPR develops. The Fellowship is named after and funded thanks to the generosity of CSPR Founding Board Member Terry Stevinson.
Launch of New Website
Board of Directors
Heidi Ganahl | Founder | Camp Bow Wow | Superior, CO
Jack Graham | Partner | Two Tree Partners | Fort Collins, CO
Byron Haselden | President & CEO | Haselden Construction | Centennial, CO
Buz Koelbel | President | Koelbel & Company | Denver, CO
T. Scott Martin | Managing Partner | Rivercrest Capital Management | Boulder, CO
Charlie McNeil | Owner & CEO | NexGen Resources Corporation | Greenwood Village, CO
Lem Smith | Principal | Squire Patton Boggs | Denver, CO
Robin Wise | President & CEO | Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc. | Denver, CO
Earl Wright | CEO & Chairman | AMG National Trust Bank | Greenwood Village, CO
Kristin Strohm | President & CEO | Kristin@csprco.org
Chris Brown | Director of Policy and Research | Chris@csprco.org
Cinamon Watson | Director of Public Relations | Cinamon@csprco.org
Jake Zambrano | Director of Legislative Services | Jake@csprco.org
COMMON SENSE POLICY ROUNDTABLE IS A FREE-ENTERPRISE THINK TANK DEDICATED TO THE PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF COLORADO’S ECONOMY.
CSPR researches and promotes common sense solutions for economic issues facing the state.
We are THE SOURCE for FACTS on free enterprise issues in Colorado.
CSPR is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational organization. CSPR owns the The REMI Tax-PI dynamic model, which was built for Colorado and calibrated with Colorado revenues, expenditures, employment and population. We are supported by our board of directors and private donations from foundations, individuals and corporations. We do not accept any government funding.
A NON-PROFIT, FREE-ENTERPRISE THINK TANK DEDICATED TO THE PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF COLORADO’S ECONOMY.
Common Sense Policy Roundtable
6295 Greenwood Plaza Blvd, Suite 100
Greenwood Village, CO 80111