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In 2018, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado will continue to advocate for policies that remove barriers to individual success, enable the private sector to flourish, and empower families and students. Colorado must continue down the Road to Freedom.
Occupational licenses are permission slips from the government that allow individuals to work in certain professions. While in the 1950s only one in 20 workers needed a license, today that number is one in four — and Colorado is no exception to this trend. Colorado requires licenses in 34 lower-income occupations that require an average $344 in fees and 260 days of education, creating considerable barriers for lower-income workers to establish themselves. Colorado should look to states such as Mississippi and Arizona, which passed comprehensive occupational licensing reform, and reevaluate if certain professions need the overbearing licensing that hinders Coloradans’ chances at employment or entrepreneurship.
Colorado’s energy policy should ensure energy remains reliable and affordable. The legislature must protect the rights of landowners and allow citizens to develop natural resources instead of imposing restrictive bans. The legislature must also not allow government to pick winners and losers in the industry by doling out corporate welfare and hand-outs to specific companies. That eliminates competition and drives up the cost of energy for Coloradans living paycheck to paycheck. The state should also end its Renewable Energy Standard, which drives up electric rates for residents.
Colorado’s parents are eager for more educational freedom. But compared with its neighbors, our state is falling behind. That said, Colorado is on the front lines of the battle for educational freedom, especially at the local level. We will fight back against any bills that seek to limit educational choices for families and children and hold elected officials accountable to protect the right to equally funded and accessible educational choices for families.
Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a crown jewel of state policy and has been one of the primary reasons the state’s economy is among the strongest in the country, despite lacking other advantages like a right-to-work law or no income tax. TABOR has empowered voters to keep government spending in check, which has enabled the private sector to flourish. Despite constant attack from special interests and politicians who seek to raise taxes and expand bureaucracy, lawmakers must stand firm in their support for limited government and defend TABOR.
Over the years, the Colorado legislature has not prioritized funding for our growing transportation needs. Unfortunately, transportation continues to be crowded out in the budget by rapidly growing entitlement programs like Medicaid. The legislature should not ask the voters for a tax increase to fund roads while the state budget continues grow year after year. Instead, they should fund our transportation needs using existing funds. Moreover, the state can enact numerous regulatory and labor reforms to ease the burden of bureaucracy and make each dollar go further – to ensure that Coloradans’ tax dollars are being spent on asphalt and pavement rather than red tape or inflated union contracts.