Quarterly Newsletter - July 2015In the second quarter of this year, Common Sense Policy Roundtable (CSPR) continued our work on numerous issues affecting Colorado’s economy.

Since CSPR released a series of studies on the impacts of oil and gas development in 2014, the industry has gone through a significant downturn. Large price declines and uncertain production volumes have made it necessary to update our information to ensure we have an accurate picture of the industry’s economic impacts on Colorado. Those updated studies should be available in the next several months.

Many aspects of the state budget still concern us and one of those ticking time bombs is the $26 billion unfunded liability of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA). This session, the General Assembly briefly considered, and then wisely discarded, a plan to slightly reduce those liabilities by offering pension obligation bonds. It was a risky scheme, with too little upside, and CSPR supported the legislature’s decision not to proceed down that road. However, the problem still remains, and CSPR will continue to investigate possible solutions to PERA’s long-term funding issues.

As we approach another election cycle, CSPR is already looking at potential ballot initiatives and what their economic impacts might be. Numerous proposals from minimum wage increases, to new energy regulations, and state budget items might be on the ballot in 2016. CSPR will be ready with data and analysis to help voters make informed decisions.

Looking forward to the work ahead,

Common Sense Policy Roundtable Board of Directors

CSPR Welcomes Two New Board Members

The Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Charlie McNeil and Heidi Ganahl as the newest members.

Charles McNeilCharlie McNeil is a leader in the energy industry and a well-known philanthropist. He is a fourth generation Coloradan who founded NexGen Resources Corporation (NexGen) in 1993 and serves as the owner and CEO. McNeil is also active in serving the Denver community as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Denver Area Boy Scouts, Cherry Hills Farm Board of Directors, Arapahoe House for Substance Abuse (honored as 2007 Pillars of the Community), Sewall Childhood Development Center, Kempe Foundation for Abused Children, Children’s Diabetes Foundation, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado School of Mines Foundation and the Mountain States Employers Council Board of Directors.

Heidi GanahlHeidi Ganahl is a highly successful entrepreneur and also spends much of her time giving back to her community. She opened her first Camp Bow Wow location in Denver in the fall of 2000. In 2003, Ganahl started franchising the concept and has sold over 200 franchises. Outside of leading Camp Bow Wow, Heidi is passionate about giving back. She is a Director on the Foundation Board for the University of Colorado, she is on the advisory board of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, a Director on the Board of Colorado Succeeds, she leads Moms Fight Back (her nonprofit empowering moms to make social change and become important players in Colorado) and is head of the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation, Camp Bow Wow’s 501c3 focused on lending a paw to animals in need.

We are excited to have their experience and expertise on the board. These two individuals will bring new energy and fresh ideas to CSPR!

Colorado Economic Indicators Report

Our partners at the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business- Business Research Division have produced a short report analyzing the latest Colorado economic indicators.

According to the report, economic growth in Colorado has slowed slightly in the first few months of 2015, but we are still a bright spot of economic recovery nationwide. Job growth between April 2014 and April 2015 was up 2.6% and for the fifth consecutive month, unemployment statewide hovered at 4.2%–ranking Colorado’s unemployment rate at 14th best in the nation.

The construction industry saw the most year-over-year job growth at 9.8%, or 15,700 new jobs. Colorado’s manufacturing job growth year-over-year was 3.2% and 5th best in the nation.

However, all indicators are not so rosy and the recovery is very much focused in and around the Denver metro area, with rural areas of Colorado still struggling.

Read the whole report here.

Download CSPR’s 2014 Annual Report!