The Economist published a choke-inducing headline in March that declared Colorado Gov. Jared Polis a “libertarian” – a new kind of Democrat dedicated to limiting the government’s reach.
“Jared Polis, Colorado’s governor, is an unusual breed: a libertarian Democrat,” the headline declared.
We wish. Our friend Gov. Polis possesses promising qualities and potential but has not governed to protect free enterprise and individuals from government overreach. Quite the contrary, in fact.
Polis works to mandate the energy we use, limiting our options. He signed legislation forcing us to subsidize rich people when they buy and drive fancy new battery cars. As The Economist points out, Polis “backs universal health care” and other big-government programs invented by the Democratic establishment.
“But he also wants to lower the income-tax rate,” the magazine explains, referencing a Polis promise of the 2018 campaign.
“He identifies as a libertarian,” The Economist claims. It quotes Polis saying, “The less government intervention in our private lives, the better. I think that’s a value many Coloradans have on the left and right.”
True. But despite those words, Polis signed dozens of bills this year that put more government in our lives. He gave us a one-size-fits-all sex education curriculum for public schools. He imposed a law that assaults the Second Amendment by authorizing the government to confiscate guns from individuals deemed unstable by almost anyone. He gave us a law forcing government employees to register people if they make contact with any state agency.
He pledged our state’s future electoral votes to presidential candidates who win the “popular vote,” sacrificing our electoral autonomy to the will of California, New York and other large states.
We do not have an income-tax reduction or any serious effort by Polis to get one passed by the Democratic Legislature.
Colorado’s Democrat-controlled Legislature dragged our governor so far left this session one can barely detect any remnant of his old pro-business, limited government, libertarian views.
Yet, last week provided a glimmer of hope and a sliver of credibility for The Economist’s assertion.
Polis crossed his party, appeasing conservatives and right-leaning libertarians by vetoing three bills designed to impose more government regulation on the free market. We applaud and thank him for doing so; establishment Democrats do not. The governor’s regulation vetoes include:
• Senate Bill 133. It required state licensure of genetic counselors and established a misdemeanor offense for anyone caught practicing without a license. Polis worried the new regulation would block “access and innovation” within the field.
• House Bill 1212. The bill, if signed into law, would have required state licensure for companies that manage homeowner associations.
“Since the initial sunrise for this program and its implementation, we have seen very few instances where licensure has helped to protect consumers,” Polis wrote, explaining the veto. “In fact, to date, the data we have reviewed does not demonstrate that regulating community association managers has had the intended effect of reducing harm to consumers.”
• Senate Bill 99. If signed into law, it would have required agents for athletes to register with the state.
“Before any unregulated occupation is to be regulated, or any regulated occupation is to be continued, the state should complete its due diligence to ensure that regulation will, in fact, ensure consumer safety in a cost-effective manner. This bill does not meet that threshold,” he wrote.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of President Donald Trump’s first three years in office, his executive order reducing business regulations has facilitated economic growth. Locally, his deregulation order played a key role in speeding the widening of “The Gap” – a narrow and dangerous segment of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock.
Excessive regulation bogs business and progress, which hurts working people. Polis made that point with these vetoes, despite signing pro-regulation bills that raise serious concerns.
Going forward, we hope Polis gets comfortable with vetoes and other executive actions that pull his far-left party closer to the middle. Don’t follow the party; lead it.
A man successful in business before entering the political arena, Polis should always defend entrepreneurs, small employers, big employers, energy production, entrepreneurs, children and hardworking families. He cannot go wrong by restoring the state’s role as an agent of, by and for the people.
During the next legislative session, we hope Polis justifies that headline about a Democrat reducing the size and scope of government.
It will take more than three good vetoes. He could start this summer by crusading for that tax cut he promised last year.
Reprinted by permission of the Colorado Springs Gazette.