Colorado business leaders feel pessimistic about economy
Colorado's escalating cost of living and increasing regulatory burden on business is souring the economic mood.
Driving the news: 60% of business leaders say the state's economy is on the wrong track compared to the national picture, according to a new survey conducted by research firm CHS & Associates on behalf of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.
- It represents an increase in pessimism compared to 2022, and leaders are predominantly pointing the finger at state policymakers.
Why it matters: The results echo other business confidence ratings and send a strong signal to Democratic leaders who control the statehouse about their aggressive overhaul of labor, environmental and privacy regulations — the three most burdensome areas, the survey found.
What they're saying: "Having conducted more than 50 studies of businesses in other states, this is the greatest concern about the regulatory climate that I've ever recorded," Pat McFerron, the research firm's president, said in a statement.
- "The concern about Colorado's high cost of doing business is having real-world repercussions; we found that a striking number of businesses based in Colorado are considering expansions and investments elsewhere."
Zoom in: The top issues are regulations, followed by a shortage of available workers and housing costs.
- Respondents singled out the new paid family leave mandates on businesses approved by voters in 2020 as particularly burdensome.
- About half of business leaders said they have open positions but are experiencing difficulty filling them with workers who have the right skill sets.
What to watch: The chamber plans to use the results to inform its policy agenda for 2024, and business leaders made clear what they want to prioritize: streamlining the local development approval process, residential property tax reductions, and limits on liability for construction defects.
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