Colorado Capitol Report

Sixth Place: Colorado’s Rank in the “New Economy”

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State Policy News

Sixth Place: Colorado’s Rank in the “New Economy”

On Wednesday at the CACI Office, CACI staff participated in a small-group discussion about the importance of innovation and technology for state economic development with Dr. Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), which is based in Washington, D.C.

The ITIF “is a non-partisan research and educational institute – a think tank – whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues.”

The meeting at the CACI Office, sponsored by “We Work for Health Colorado” and the Brighton Economic Development Council, coincided with Dr. Atkinson’s attendance at the “BioWest Conference” hosted by the Colorado BioScience Association, a CACI member.

Dr. Atkinson presented the 2014 State New Economy Index at the meeting at the CACI Office and discussed Colorado’s sixth place ranking in the Index, which measures each state’s performance in the categories of: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the digital economy and innovation capacity.

The New Economy Index is premised in the belief that the United States has lost its competitive advantage in “economic evolution,” its ability to innovate and “develop new industries, products and services to replace the more mature ones lost at a more rapid pace to low-cost nations”.

The report highlights the perils of economies historically dependent on natural resources, tourism, and mass-production manufacturing.  These industries are susceptible to market fluctuations while “New Economy” industries, which are diverse, innovative, and geared toward global markets, tend to enjoy more consistent success over time.

For example, since U.S. manufacturing employment reached its peak in 1979, the states with the largest share of manufacturing jobs have lost more than 37 percent of those jobs as other nations have provided lower production costs for the same goods.  Additionally, states that score higher on the Index tend to have higher, per-capita state gross domestic products (GDPs).

Colorado earned ranked sixth on the Index thanks to high scores in the specific categories of: information technology and high technology; managerial, professional and technical jobs; a well-educated workforce; and the number of scientists and engineers.

Some of the state’s weaknesses include: manufacturing value add; export focus of manufacturing and services; foreign direct investment; and IT infrastructure. Surprisingly, one of Colorado’s lowest scores was in “movement toward a clean energy economy.”

According to the report, “Colorado . . . maintains a highly dynamic economy along with the second-most highly educated workforce in the country.

The state has become a hotbed for high-tech innovation in the middle of the country and scores well on entrepreneurism and knowledge-employment indicators.”

The top five states on the Index in order are Massachusetts, Delaware, California, Washington and Maryland.  Colorado’s ranking improved one spot from the last Index, which was published in 2012.  Colorado has historically performed well on the Index with the state’s lowest score being 9 in 2007 and 2010.

In the report, Dr. Atkinson argues that the United States, to be more competitive globally, needs to reduce the regulatory burden, employ technology-based economic development strategies and ensure a tax-and regulatory-environment that supports a state’s competitive advantage.

These reforms include the use of “public-private partnerships to help non-governmental organizations become more innovative and productive where there are significant market failures limiting their action.”

For information on CACI’s Colorado Manufacturing Initiative (CMI), contact Patrick Pratt, CMI Program Manager, at 303.656.6915.

CACI’s Furman Speaks at Florida Business Conference on “Weed at Work”

On Wednesday, Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, participated in a panel discussion on marijuana and the workplace at the annual meeting of the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) in Orlando.

Florida voters are facing a ballot initiative, Amendment 2, this November to legalize medical use of marijuana.  Here’s how AIF described the session:

WEED AT WORK?  —  Exploring the Looming Threats to Employer Control and Workplace Safety 

This panel discussion will feature experts from the law enforcement, legal and safety sectors who will explore the challenges and opportunities that passage of Amendment 2 could create for Florida employers after the November elections.



LOREN FURMAN – Senior Vice President for State and Federal Relations, Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry

ROGERS TURNER, ESQ. – Partner, Hurley, Rogner, Miller, Cox, Waranch & Westcott, P.A.

Here’s a bullet-point summary of Loren’s opening comments:

Since voters made marijuana legal in Colorado, our state has been confronted with major challenges and we are still working out the kinks.  The three major issues that I want to focus on today include:

1)      How do we protect our businesses when it comes to offsite drug use?

2)      How do we pay for this monster program?

3)      How do we keep our kids and population safe?

Governor Announces Oil-and-Gas/Local Control Task Force Members

Here’s the news media release from the Governor’s Office:

Gov. Hickenlooper announces members of oil and gas task force to address local authority, land use and oil and gas development

DENVER — Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 —  Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the members of the task force that will address land use issues and the role of state and local government in siting oil and gas facilities. The governor created the task force as part of a compromise to avoid a divisive and costly campaign fight this fall over ballot issues that could damage Colorado’s economy and its collaborative approach to environmental regulation.

“Critical to the success and effectiveness of this task force is ensuring there is balanced and informed representation,” said Gov. Hickenlooper. “We are confident that the task force members we have assembled to take on these critically important issues for our state are exactly the right group to ensure that Colorado’s economy and environment remain healthy and robust. We are grateful to all of these board members for their willingness to work together to help find the right solution for Colorado. And we are grateful to the many applicants who submitted their names for consideration.”

Task force members:

Sara Barwinski, member of community group, Weld Air and Water

Bernie Buescher, former Colorado Secretary of State

Peter Dea, president & CEO, Cirque Resources LP

Jim Fitzgerald, rancher, educator, activist

Russ George, former Speaker of the House and former exec. director of Department of Natural Resources

Jon Goldin-Dubois, president, Western Resources Advocates

Brad Holly, vice president of operations (Rocky Mountain Region), Anadarko

Dan Kelly, vice president of Wattenberg Business Unit, Noble Energy

Rebecca Kourlis, retired justice of the Colorado Supreme Court; executive director, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

Steve Moreno, Clerk and Recorder, Weld County

Perry Pearce, manager of state government affairs (Rocky Mountain Region), ConocoPhillips

Kent Peppler, president, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, farmer

Pat Quinn, former mayor, Broomfield

Bruce Rau, vice chairman/treasurer, Colorado Association of Home Builders

Jeff Robbins, attorney, Goldman Robbins & Nicholson

Matt Sura, attorney, Law Office of Matthew Sura

Will Toor, former Boulder mayor and Boulder County Commissioner

Elbra Wedgeworth, chief government & community relations officer, Denver Health

Scot Woodall, president & CEO, Bill Barrett Corporation

The task force is charged with crafting recommendations to help minimize land use conflicts that can occur when siting oil and gas facilities near homes, schools, businesses and recreational areas. Nearly 300 people from various industries, environmental organizations, and civic leader from around the state applied.

The 19-member task force is chaired by La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt and Randy Cleveland, president of XTO Energy, Inc. and represents the broad interests of those involved in responsible oil and gas development including members of the oil and gas industry, agricultural industry, the home building industry, the conservation community, local governments and civic leaders.

The group will begin meeting immediately and its anticipated that recommendations would be ready in March 2015. The task force has the power to make recommendations to the governor and legislature with a two-thirds majority, or issue majority and minority opinions.

For more on the task force, read:

Colorado’s new oil and gas task force holds first meeting,” by Cathy Proctor, The Denver Business Journal, September 10th.

Hickenlooper names task force to defuse drilling land-use conflicts,” by Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, September 8th.

Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper names 19 to new oil and gas task force on local control,” by Cathy Proctor, The Denver Business Journal, September 8th.

Workers’ Comp Cost Containment Certification: Easier Than One Might Think

There are many reasons why CACI members that carry Pinnacol Assurance workers’ compensation policies should implement the  Pinnacol “Cost Containment Certification” (CCC) program.

Policyholders that have achieved Cost Containment Certification often see a decrease in claims costs, a reduction in losses and their workers experience less-severe injuries

The certification can also make policyholders eligible for a discount on their workers’ compensation premiums.  More importantly, certification demonstrates an organization’s commitment to protecting the safety and welfare of its employees.

Cost Containment Certification requires that employers have a six-step, formal safety program in place and document its effectiveness for one year.  In addition to these steps, the following also must be kept throughout the year:

  • Safety-orientation documentation for all new employees;
  • Safety-training documentation on at least a quarterly basis (Pinnacol recommends monthly safety awareness training to promote better safety awareness and to develop a good safety culture.);
  • Accident investigation reports for all incidents reported, including corrective measures to be implemented;
  • Documentation indicating the designated medical provider(s) the company selected has been distributed to all existing and new employees;
  • Documentation showing efforts towards instituting modified duty that conforms to the treating physician’s restrictions; and
  • Required documentation must be dated and signed.

An organization probably already has the majority of the components of the CCC program in place.  If an organization has a solid safety program implemented and the program and its results have been well documented, then it may have met some of the above requirements.  Regardless, Pinnacol safety consultants can help with every step of the process.

Additionally, Pinnacol offers the Employer’s Guide to Cost Containment Certification free of charge or online under the tab, “Order Materials.”

Along with this workbook, Pinnacol created a Cost Containment Certification Webinar series.  The series is an exclusive benefit to Pinnacol policyholders and was designed to assist them with development of their CCC program and to walk them through the six-step process, documentation and application.  Policyholders can access the webinars at any time from Pinnacol’s Resources section.

CACI members with Pinnacol workers’ comp policies that have questions about the materials or the process should contact the Pinnacol “Safety On Call” hotline at 303.361.4700 or 888.501.4752.

Federal Policy News

Show Support for the U.S. Export-Import Bank!

The U.S. Ex-Im Bank must be reauthorized by Sept. 30th to help Colorado businesses: see the countdown clock HERE.

200,000 Reasons Why the U.S. Needs the Ex-Im Bank

  • U.S. jobs rely on exports.  In Fiscal Year 2013, Ex-Im provided financing or guarantees for $37.4 billion in U.S. exports, supporting more than 200,000 American jobs.
  • Small businesses rely on Ex-Im Bank to export their products. Nearly 90% of Ex-Im’s transactions—3,413—supported U.S. small businesses in 2013.
  • The Ex-Im Bank is vital to American competitiveness.  Ex-Im support is often required to secure commercial financing or even to qualify to bid on overseas projects.  Without Ex-Im, small businesses will lose out to their overseas competitors, many of which are backed by export credit agencies 18 times the size of the U.S. Ex-Im Bank.
  • The Ex-Im Bank paid down the national deficit by $1 billion for both 2012 and 2013 and has less risk than traditional lending institutions.

Learn more about Ex-Im Bank.

CACI Federal Relations Council Gets NIST Response on “Gallon-Equivalent Letter”

During the July meeting of CACI’s Federal Relations Council, members heard a presentation on moving toward a “gallon-equivalent” for natural gas used in vehicles.  The Council voted to support a memo to the U.S. Commerce Department, which will be reviewing this issue in the near future for a final decision.

CACI received this response to its memo, where it outlined support for a gallon-equivalent for natural gas so that consumers can make educated, common-sense comparisons and continue standards similar to that for diesel and gasoline fuels.  This recommendation also takes into consideration energy-content variables found in different sources of natural gas.

Federal Regulations Cost Businesses $2 Trillion

 A study by the National Association of Manufacturer’s (NAM) study has found the financial impact of regulations on manufacturers, small businesses and the economy is a staggering $2.028 trillion.  As regulations increase, NAM has shown, in real numbers, the impact and burdens regulations have across the country:

  • The average U.S. firm shoulders a regulatory cost burden of $233,182–or 21 percent of average payroll.
  • 88 percent of those surveyed say federal regulations are a top challenge for their firm.
  • Small manufacturers (less than 50 workers) are hit the hardest with regulatory compliance costs, at an average $34,671 annually.

o   $18,243 annually for medium manufacturers (50 – 99 employees) and $13,750 for large manufacturers (100+ employees).

o   Full-Time Employees devoted to compliance cost manufacturers $94.8 billion in 2014 dollars.

o   63 percent said if those compliance cost funds were returned to them, they would invest that money, 22 percent said those funds would go to employee initiatives.

For more information, read the full study or the Executive Summary from NAM.

Manufacturing Initiative

CACI Mission Trustee Ball Reaffirms Leadership Position on Dow Jones Sustainability Index

CACI congratulates Ball Corporation!  For the second consecutive year, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World) and Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America (DJSI NA) list Ball Corporation [NYSE: BLL] as an industry leader in sustainability. Ball took first place in the Containers and Packaging category once again and remains the only company in its sector to be featured in both indices.

“The Dow Jones recognition is important to us and we’re thrilled to be listed again this year,” said John A. Hayes, chairman, president and CEO. “Sustainability is a fundamental part of Ball’s Drive for 10 vision and we’ve made great strides toward our ambitious goals over the years. Our exceptionally high scores in customer relationship management and product stewardship, and significant improvements in talent attraction and retention – all which are integral in our business strategies – highlight our efforts to engrain sustainability into everything we do. Congratulations to each of our employees around the world, as their engagement continues to make Ball a more successful, sustainable company.”ball

Read the Press Release or visit