Updated Feb 3, 2023 - Business

Capitol Pulse: Colorado's business community says it's being targeted by Democrats

Illustration of a briefcase combined with an emergency exit sign

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

πŸ› Capitol Pulse is a weekly feature to catch up quick on what's happening at the Legislature.

Gov. Jared Polis had lunch with business leaders in late January and heard an earful β€” mostly about where he's failing.

  • The pre-recorded video that played over the sound of forks clanking against plates featured business leaders bemoaning the lack of skilled workers in the state, breakdowns in the education system and a regulatory environment that "chills investment and … hiring."

State of play: This legislative session, the business community feels like it's the red meat on Democratic leaders' plate.

What they're saying: The Democratic agenda runs counter to the promises from Polis and legislative leaders to make life more affordable and improve the economy, business leaders say. The new regulations would lead to higher costs for consumers in other areas, they argue.

  • "Our people are worried about the cost of doing business," says Debbie Brown, the president of the Colorado Business Roundtable, which hosted last week's luncheon.
  • She described the mood among business leaders as "cautiously pessimistic."

The other side: House Speaker Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon) made clear that workers are at the forefront in the discussions, even as she called for a middle ground.

  • Democrats are "making sure there is balance between workers' rights, supporting workers in the workplace and of course helping our business thrive in the economy," she told us this week.
  • She added: "We may need to take care of some bad actors or businesses that are not supportive of employees in the way they should be."
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