Relieving Some Of The Burden

As a former operating small business owner, I know firsthand the challenges that face Colorado's 611,000 small businesses on a day-to-day basis. And it can be very overwhelming.

But luckily for them - as well as for the other 29 million small businesses across the country - the current administration in Washington is relieving some of that burden. Not only are costly regulations being slashed, but the tax relief package that was passed and signed into law late last year is giving small businesses some budgetary wiggle room to hire more people, raise wages, and expand.

The results have been impressive. The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals the lowest unemployment rate since 2000. And to build off that, the unemployment rate for minority Americans has hit an all-time low.

While many seek to downplay the positive impacts of Tax Reform and Jobs Act, as well as other pro-business policies enacted by the Trump administration, they are having a significant impact for small business owners across Colorado and the nation.

Jeff Wasden, Colorado Business Roundtable

Highlands Ranch

How To Make An Impact With Your Investments

With Earth Day fresh in our rearview mirrors, it’s an opportune time to think about how to best incorporate sustainable investments into your portfolio. Let’s look at the numbers. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to increase by as much as 33 percent.  This means in a few decades, there could be two and a half billion more consumers utilizing resources that are already limited. As living standards rise for people across the world, the global need for food, water and energy will increase at an even faster rate. It’s no wonder that more and more investors are voicing their environmental sustainability beliefs or dissention via socially responsible investments - a trend that has surged in the past decade.

What is Sustainable and Impact Investing?

Sustainable and Impact Investing means investors are considering what’s called environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria as part of their investment process. Whether their focus is on advancing environmental causes, building healthy communities or promoting corporate ethics, investors feel they can make a difference in the world through their investment choices.

Growth of Sustainable and Impact Investment Funds

According to US SIF (The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment), assets in professionally managed sustainable, responsible and impact investments in the United States totaled $8.1 trillion in 2016 – up 33 percent from 1995. Furthermore, Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing says this type of investing has experienced a 135 percent increase in assets under management since 2012

How to Find Socially Responsible Investments

With more than 1,000 distinct funds, representing $2.6 trillion in assets that incorporated ESG criteria into their investment decision-making in 2016, there are many opportunities for individual investors to find suitable impact investment funds. A full spectrum of approaches is now available for all investors.

The Performance Question

Proponents of sustainable and impact investments have always had to combat the notion that these investment funds underperform when compared to the broader universe of investments. But there is a growing body of evidence that suggests otherwise.

Morgan Stanley conducted a proprietary study in 2015 to examine performance of more than 10,000 mutual funds and 2,800 Separately Managed Accounts over a seven-year period. The results showed that sustainable strategies often perform in line with, or better than, their traditional counterparts.

We, as investors, can all help drive positive environmental, social and governance outcomes by “voting” with our investment dollars.  In order to create a successful sustainable investing plan, it is important for you to understand your personal financial goals and social motivations.  Working with a financial advisor can help you understand and align these goals into a personalized investment plan that could have a real social impact.

Madison Carter is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. She can be reached at 303-316-5169. Email her at Madison.anne.carter@morganstanley.com or visit her website: https://fa.morganstanley.com/thecherrycreekgroup/.

The Positive Contributions Of Immigrants In Colorado

With Tax Day fresh in our rearview mirror, it’s a good time to reflect on the contributions immigrants make to our economy. Nationally, immigrants earned $1.4 trillion in 2016 and contributed more than $117 billion in state and local taxes, as well as almost $262 billion in federal taxes. This left them with more than $1.0 billion in spending power. Immigrants in Colorado play an important role in contributing to the state’s economy both as consumer and as taxpayers.

According to research, there are more than half a million immigrant residents in Colorado, representing 10 percent of Colorado’s population. They pay almost $4 billion in taxes and hold over $12 billion in spending power. There are 36,354 immigrant entrepreneurs in Colorado and 83,794 people employed by immigrant-owned firms in Colorado.

Immigrants are people with big dreams and big plans, who are willing to take risks and make sacrifices for the betterment of their families and their adopted countries. These are also some of the very characteristics that are valuable in business, particularly in states like Colorado with booming startup and tech communities.

That’s why it is so important that we give young immigrants an opportunity to learn and use the skills needed to become the next generation of entrepreneurs in our country. Both the immigrants who dream of coming here and those who are already here. Dreamers are the young adults who were brought here illegally as children and through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been granted the opportunity to study, work, and start businesses here.

Our economy is fueled by immigrants, and, in Denver alone, 22 percent of ‘main street’ businesses are owned by immigrants. In fact, modernizing our outdated and burdensome immigration system could create upwards of 4,700 new jobs and add $2.7 billion to Colorado’s economy. Instead, we have laws on the books that prevent skilled immigrants from actively participating in our economy. This is a disservice to our state.

Providing an earned pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. would increase their wages and spending power, U.S. GDP by $1.4 trillion over 10 years, generate $184 billion in additional state and local and federal tax revenue from currently undocumented immigrants, and add more than 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy.

We should protect current immigration levels and work to pass immigration reform that makes it safer, faster and more efficient for prospective immigrants to enter the U.S. and begin contributing to our society.

Kaytia King

FWD.us Colorado Organizing Manager

A look at ethanol and our environment during Earth Month

As we mark Earth month, it’s more important than ever to stress the importance of renewable fuels and the role ethanol plays in our air quality. We should take every step possible to protect our environment, and supporting ethanol is a large part of that. It’s time we remind folks about the benefits of corn-based ethanol.

Compared to gasoline, ethanol significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality.  Based on studies conducted for the USDA, corn-based ethanol has the potential to help us reach a reduction in greenhouse gasses of nearly 75% in the next five years. Ethanol contains 35% oxygen to assist in more complete fuel combustion, which means less harmful tailpipe emissions.

We all have a choice when we fuel up; why not choose an American-produced, renewable fuel, and cleaner air? E15 is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Currently, almost every gas station in America sells a 10 percent blend, but many more are starting to offer E15. E15 is approved for any vehicle manufactured since 2001 – nearly 9 out of 10 cars on the road today – and it contains more ethanol, which means lower prices, cleaner air and better performance.

Stimulating growth in ethanol demand is not just good for our environment. It is a benefit to our nation by providing consumers with better, homegrown, less expensive fuel which increases our energy independence and provides nearly 360,000 industry jobs.

Agriculture is a critically important facet of our nation’s food security, our nation’s economy, as well as our nation’s energy independence. Farmers are stewards of the land and environment; they practice sustainability through land conservation and preservation, and with the help of technology and science are able to produce more with less.  The techniques available to farmers today are amazing.

Globally, coarse grains used for ethanol production have increased, while the amount of land used to grow these grains has decreased 6.7 percent between 1980 and 2015, according to the USDA.

During this time period, grain production more than doubled in the U.S. on fewer acres and best of all, producers cut nutrient use (i.e. nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) in half.

Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. It requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels.

Most gasoline used in the United States is blended to E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol. A change in the RFS in 2015 created incentives to make greater use of E85 and E15, which contain more ethanol.

The RFS as it stands now is working and is important to economic resurgence for rural Colorado, and ultimately, our nation. It’s encouraging that President Trump stated earlier this month he is committed to supporting the RFS and year-round E15. We are now asking Congress to do the same.

Increasing the use of ethanol benefits our nation and our citizenry because ethanol is a homegrown, less expensive fuel, resulting in cleaner air. And that’s something we should all get behind for Earth Month and every month of the year.

Mark Sponsler

Chief Executive Officer

Colorado Corn Growers Assn/Colorado Corn Administrative Committee

Transportation Statement by Jeff Wasden

Colorado Business Roundtable understands the importance of an efficient, integrated transportation system to our business community. Our infrastructure is the platform for a modern, competitive economy, one that allows for productivity, innovation, safe movement of goods, and supports a high quality of life.

Colorado, like the United States, has failed to make adequate investments in transportation. Disagreements among business groups mirrors the challenges legislators have faced on finding the right strategy to fund our $9 billion dollar shortfall. Priorities should center on statewide solutions, accelerating our permitting process, attracting private investment, and allows for local input on pressing priorities.

Thanks to the leadership of many in and out of the Capitol, a compromise version of SB1 passed unanimously out of the State Senate and has become the consensus choice among Colorado’s leading business organizations. The two key components that business groups are rallying behind is the $495 million from this year’s budget surplus, and a long-term commitment of funding towards transportation. If SB1 passes, it will represent the largest commitment towards transportation in over 20 years.

A large and growing coalition of business groups have begun rallying around SB1, urging the House to pass the Senate’s bill. The coalition is particularly notable as it includes groups that have disagreed in the past on transportation funding, and still may disagree about future steps towards a solution, but they all agree that SB1 is the most important first step.

Colorado Business Roundtable stands in support of SB1 and encourages leadership in the House to pass this key piece of legislation that is critical to our economic future, safety of our workforce and residents, and the quality of life we enjoy in Colorado.

SB1 Coalition Members

  • Colorado Farm Bureau
  • South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Business Roundtable
  • Colorado Concern
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Motor Carriers Association
  • Colorado Contractors Association
  • Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation
  • Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance
  • Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Denver South Economic Development Partnership
  • Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors

Statement on Tariffs - Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA

 
 

STATEMENT ON TARIFFS

Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA

April 2018

The Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA (CBL4NAFTA) strongly encourage President Donald J. Trump, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and other Administration officials to extend the steel and aluminum exemptions placed on our neighbors and NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, and make them permanent.

The U.S. Administration is not wrong that bad faith actors have sought to undermine U.S. metals manufacturing, dumping their product into our markets at unfair rates to drive competitors out of business. However, Canada and Mexico have not been bad actors. Indeed, U.S. domestic manufacturing markets are deeply entwined with those of our North American partners. For example: American steelworkers share the same union representation with their Canadian counterparts, and the majority of steel firms have long-established cross-border operations that employ thousands. Moreover, thanks to rigorous monitoring about which products may enter their borders, neither Canada nor Mexico may be used as a “back door” for illegally dumped materials to enter into the United States.

Our markets need to be made secure, and our North American allies are a part of the solution.

CBL4NAFTA condemns any attempt by the Administration or other influencers to use tariffs as a leveraging tool in NAFTA renegotiations, as has been speculated in the media. These two issues are separate. Neither Canada nor Mexico presents a national security threat – as defined under Section 232 – to the United States. Indeed, as a NORAD and NATO partner, Canada would be considered America’s strongest and most loyal ally, having stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. in every major conflict since World War One.

CBL4NAFTA supports any effort that will bring jobs and economic prosperity to American workers. It is our belief that a unified and outward-facing North American bloc is the best way to ensure the prosperity for our people, our businesses, and our communities – in Colorado and across the continent – both now and into the future.

The United States should be clear in word and deed: America First does not mean America Alone. Our NAFTA partners are our allies as we look to make the global marketplace a more fair and robust system where industry can compete. Making these tariff exemptions permanent would be a clear signal to the world that the United States remains open for business.

Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA

Karen Gerwitz, Co-Chair                                                        Jeff Wasden, Co-Chair

World Trade Center Denver                                                   Colorado Business Roundtable

New Study Shows Pension Reform Can Generate Billions of Dollars for Schools, Roads and Other Pressing Budget Needs in Colorado

Lawmakers Can Save Taxpayers $2 Billion to $4 Billion Over 10 Years with Modest Changes to PERA and Hickenlooper Plans
 

CSPR Chairman Earl Wright: “A plan that eliminates the unfunded liability by forcing school districts, state agencies and local governments to pay even more would be no real victory at all.”

DENVER, CO – A small number of targeted changes to existing pension reform plans could save billions of dollars for school districts, local governments and other public institutions over the next decade in Colorado, according to a new study released by the REMI Partnership.

The savings – measured against proposals from the Colorado Public Employee Retirees’ Association (PERA) and the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper – could free up $2 billion to $4 billion over 10 years for transportation, education, public safety and other worthy budget demands.

“The PERA Board and the Hickenlooper Administration deserve credit for producing serious and thoughtful proposals for eliminating the state pension system’s $32 billion unfunded liability,” said Chris Brown, Director of Policy and Research for the partnership and the lead author of the study. “Additional changes to the benefit structure will not only eliminate PERA’s $32 billion unfunded liability, they would also lessen the burden on taxpayers and state and local government.”

“Annual pension costs for school districts, cities, counties and other public institutions have doubled over the past decade to roughly $1.6 billion per year,” Brown said. “There are ways to ease the heavy burden of these annual pension costs and eliminate the long-term $32 billion unfunded liability at the same time. And it can be done with a few adjustments to the plans already put forward by the PERA Board and Hickenlooper Administration, without undermining retirement security for our public workforce,” Brown concluded. 

“A plan that eliminates the unfunded liability by forcing school districts, state agencies and local governments to pay even more would be no real victory at all,” said Earl Wright, Chairman of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable (CSPR) Board of Directors. “Annual pension costs are crushing state, local and school district budgets and crowding out badly needed investments in roads, schools and other essential public services.”

“The research also shows average retirement benefits are growing faster than average paychecks for public employees who are still in the workforce, as rising pension costs reduce the funds available for raises,” Wright said. 

“This study does not support or oppose any one reform plan, but instead puts the concerns of Colorado taxpayers front and center. The $32 billion unfunded liability must be eliminated, of course, and we urge all stakeholders to find a solution this year. But whatever solution is found, the rising annual cost of PERA contributions to school boards, local governments, the state budget and ultimately taxpayers must be a key consideration throughout the debate. It shouldn’t be swept under the rug or treated as an afterthought,” Wright concluded.

The study, released today, is titled “One Step Further on PERA Reform: How to build on proposals from Colorado PERA and Governor Hickenlooper to eliminate unfunded liabilities and reduce burdens on state, local and school district budgets.” To foster a comprehensive and productive debate over public pension reforms in Colorado, the REMI Partnership closely examined the PERA and Hickenlooper Administration proposals, and then built a series of alternative scenarios for policy makers to consider.

Like the PERA and Hickenlooper plans, the alternative scenarios presented – dubbed “Hickenlooper Plus” – would raise the retirement age for new public employees, increase the number of years used in the Highest Average Salary calculation of base retirement benefits, and temporarily suspend the automatic Annual Increase in benefit levels.

But unlike the PERA and Hickenlooper plans, which would increase or maintain today’s high taxpayer contribution rates, the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios would make a modest reduction in order to provide some budget relief to school districts, local governments and state agencies. On the benefits side, to further manage costs, the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios would also reset the Annual Increase at lower levels than the 1.5 percent and 1.25 percent proposed by PERA and the Hickenlooper Administration respectively. 

On the issue of the assumed rate of return, the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios examine a range of options between 6.5 percent and 7 percent, compared to PERA’s current 7.25 percent. In developing the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios, the REMI Partnership was granted permission to view PERA’s forecasting tools, and therefore we believe each scenario has a similar amortization timetable as the PERA and Hickenlooper reform proposals, i.e. 30 years.

“For more than a decade, state lawmakers have approved major increases in taxpayer-funded PERA contributions to pay off the pension system’s unfunded liability, and yet the unfunded liability has continued to grow,” said Simon Lomax, an adviser to CSPR and a co-author of the “One Step Further on PERA Reform” study.

“We don’t have to look at the unfunded liability in isolation. We can take a whole-of-government approach to pension reform that recognizes all the other services state, local and school district officials are expected to provide within their limited budgets. Common sense demands that we fully examine the alternatives before throwing more money at the problem,” Lomax concluded.

About the REMI Partnership: Common Sense Policy Roundtable, Colorado Concern, Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Colorado Bankers Association, and Denver South Economic Development Partnership have partnered to develop independent, fact-based analysis that quantifies the broader economic impacts associated with policy changes. The partnership has provided Colorado lawmakers, policy makers, business leaders, and citizens with greater insight into the economic impact of public policy decisions that face the state and surrounding regions. 

What Colorado Local Governments Need to Know About Small Cells

Wireless technology continues to play a more integral role in our lives. Smartphones and other connected devices – from navigation systems to fitness trackers – allow us to stream videos, get directions, monitor our activity, conduct business, and stay in touch with our loved ones. They also keep us safe. In the U.S., nearly 80% of adults own smartphones and more than 80% of 911 calls are made with wireless devices. Access to mobile technology is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity for citizens and first responders as well as local government officials, who all depend on wireless connectivity daily.

A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that over 50% of American households are wireless only, and of households with landlines, 38% report receiving all or almost all calls on wireless devices. Additionally, Cisco predicts that mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021, which is due largely in part to the “Internet of Things” (IoT). As our world becomes increasingly connected, it is critical for local governments in Colorado and across the country to understand how wireless technology – specifically, “small cell” solutions – will expand cellular coverage and network capacity, and serve as the backbone for 5G and IoT.

Small cell solutions are smaller than traditional towers or rooftop installations and are often installed on existing right-of-way infrastructure like street signs, telephone poles, or streetlights. They are being deployed successfully all over Colorado. Many cities and counties have collaborative relationships and signed agreements in place to ensure a streamlined deployment process. When local governments understand the public benefits of working collaboratively with infrastructure providers, deployment is swift and the outcome is a more connected, safer community.

One example of a successful collaboration between a local government and an infrastructure provider is when Crown Castle, the nation’s largest communications infrastructure company, deployed small cells in support of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championship in Vail, CO. Public safety officials and other stakeholders, led by the state of Colorado FirstNet team, wanted a wireless infrastructure solution that was capable of supporting 4G LTE applications to monitor activities during the event. Crown Castle worked closely with the state of Colorado to set up a public safety network demonstration that enabled officials to test applications in practical situations, including real-time video, push-to-talk, Voice over IP (VoIP), situational awareness, and others. The network was designed to improve wireless coverage and provide much needed data capacity while preserving the beauty of Vail.

As part of a larger, nationwide small cell deployment effort, Crown Castle is currently upgrading Denver’s existing wireless infrastructure by deploying a robust small cell network and over 130 new miles of lightning-fast fiber optic cable that will pave the way for next-generation networks such as 5G, which promise to turn innovations including autonomous vehicles and citywide data sharing into reality. Working closely in partnership with city staff, Crown Castle intends to enable improved wireless broadband service while keeping Denver’s character intact.

Scott Harry is the West Region Government Relations Manager for Crown Castle.

Transportation Solutions

Transportation is front and center in the minds of our legislators, business leaders, workforce, and families all across the state. A robust and well-maintained surface transportation network- including roads and bridges, public transit and rail systems- has been essential to America’s economic success and dynamism. Growing frustration continues to mount as bipartisan solutions have been elusive. Colorado’s population continues to swell and our congestion woes mount. Studies estimate traffic congestion cost Americans $124 billion, a number projected to rise to $185 billion by 2030. By 2030, the average American household is expected to incur traffic-related costs of $2,301 per year, a 33% increase compared to 2013.

Solutions have been caught up in partisan politics and differing interests. Various stakeholders have advanced ideas from specific ownership taxes, raising the gas tax, an increase in sales tax, and bonding among others. A bipartisan approach didn’t have the support of enough legislators last year to make it out of the legislature and on to voters. This year, SB-1 has been introduced, and once again, it appears to be destined to a similar partisan demise.

Colin Powell once stated, “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” There is a solution, a path forward that will create a win for business, workers, and communities all across Colorado.

Industry and associations aligning ourselves behind competing measures have dampened our ability to ensure a successful solution with Colorado voters. Taking multiple initiatives to the ballot will create confusion, doubt and not generate the critical buy-in and support necessary for a successful answer to Colorado’s transit needs.

As leaders, we need to put forth the types of solutions that can be successful and help move Colorado forward. We owe it our constituents, members, workforce, and future generations to craft a solution that will garner bipartisan support and also voter enthusiasm -and votes-in November. While other solutions may exist, the Colorado Business Roundtable is putting forth the following proposal that combines the various stakeholder interests, addresses Colorado’s pressing issues, and provides a new, sustainable, and long-term funding source. 

Colorado’s transportation solution should incorporate a two-pronged approach. First, pass SB-1 and use the benefits of bonding general fund dollars to provide direct relief for some of Colorado’s most urgent needs. Bonding will allow us to take advantage of low interest rates and today’s construction costs. While an important first step, it only addresses the 35% of the state’s transportation shortfall, necessitating a second step. At the appropriate time, we put forth a new, dedicated funding source that will provide critical O&M dollars and money for local transit projects, and communities. Coordinating the timing of ballot questions, combing resources and building a successful coalition should be the focus of a successful transportation system for Coloradans.

We have the leadership to get this accomplished. Unifying around a common, coordinated plan is not only the right approach, it is the only winning approach to provide Coloradans with an efficient, safe, and reliable transportation system. Fix Colorado Roads, with the support of ALL coalition stakeholders, can take the lead on bonding and the Denver Chamber and Coloradans for Coloradans collation, with support of ALL coalition stakeholders can continue to lead on new, sustainable funding source. We must align efforts, present a united front, and work together. That is indeed the Colorado way, and the right formula for this critical, economic imperative.

With thanks,
Jeff Wasden
President, Colorado Business Roundtable

The Internet Remains Open and Free

Author: Roberta Robinette, AT&T Colorado President

If you are like me and follow news about the internet, you have no doubt seen the screaming headlines about net neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission. Contrary to what made those headlines so clickable, the FCC did not radically change how the internet operates.  Rather, the FCC did right by consumers by returning to the light-touch regulatory framework that allowed the internet to thrive from 1996-2015.  That bipartisan light touch framework successfully protected consumers and governed the internet from its inception more than 20 years ago until 2015.  Over the decades, the internet grew, innovation exploded, and the nation witnessed unprecedented investment.

In 2015, then-Chairman Wheeler’s FCC took the radical and unprecedented step of subjecting the internet for the first time to 80 year old public utility regulations that were written for the technology and the marketplace from a bygone era that the internet has largely replaced – monopoly telephone service.  These rules slowed broadband deployment nationwide, especially in rural and underserved communities.  Additionally, the application of these decades-old common carrier reporting requirements and the specter of further regulatory micromanagement overwhelmed small internet service providers and reduced their longer-term incentives to invest in the next generation broadband technologies necessary for a 21st century economy. Overall broadband investment has dropped by billions of dollars since 2015 – a first in the absence of a recession.

With so much emotion and hyperbole surrounding the net neutrality issue, it’s important to be aware of the existing consumer protections and antitrust laws that continue to keep the internet open and free:

·       Federal regulators have ample authority to police and enforce compliance with the FCC’s rules, including the requirement for ISPs to accurately disclose any blocking, throttling, and/or prioritization practices. The FCC has authority to bring enforcement actions – and impose significant penalties – if it were to find a provider’s blocking, throttling or prioritization practices to be inconsistent with the provider’s disclosures.

·       The FCC also monitors the broadband market and identifies market entry barriers by, among other activities, reviewing informal complaints filed by consumers, and will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate with respect to failures to comply with the Internet Freedom Order.

·       Antitrust laws protect competition in all sectors of the economy where the antitrust agencies have jurisdiction. Application of these strong, enforceable antitrust laws would address any of the hypothetical harms, should any ever materialize. If internet service providers were, contrary to the history of the internet and their own business interests, to enter into agreements to unfairly block, throttle, or discriminate against internet conduct or applications, they could be subject to enforcement under anti-trust laws. Applying the same body of law to internet service providers, edge providers, and all internet actors avoids regulatory distortions.

·       State attorneys general also have authority in appropriate cases to enforce state unfair competition and consumer protection laws against internet service providers.

Despite these existing protections, some people are pushing for legislation that would regulate the internet at the state and local level.  But the internet does not stop at the state line or city limit.  State and local laws to regulate the internet are not only unnecessary, they would also do more harm than good by discouraging investment and putting a drag on the economy.   It’s not hard to imagine how a patchwork of inconsistent regulations – from potentially 50 different states and countless municipalities – would fracture the internet, confuse consumers, and harm competition. And, just like the burdensome 2015 FCC Order, such regulation would stifle investment—investment that we know is a key component to a thriving Colorado economy. 

The internet is too important to our lives, our economy and our future to be subject to ever-changing political winds.  AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson recently emphasized that, ultimately, congressional action is needed to establish an "Internet Bill of Rights" that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.  Federal legislation would not only ensure consumers' rights are protected, but it would provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies across all websites, content, devices and applications.

In the very near future, technological advances like self-driving cars, remote surgery and augmented reality will demand even greater performance from the internet. Without predictable rules for how the internet works, it will be difficult to meet the demands of these new technology advances.

3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll

PART ONE:

This is the first in a 3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll.

Most Americans Say They Are on Track to Realize Their Financial Goals – Are You One of Them?

Americans are confident they are on track to achieve their long-term financial goals, according to the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll. The poll surveyed 1,000 U.S. households of high net worth individuals, a third of which had investible assets of $1 million or more.

Ninety-one percent of those polled believe they are on the right path to achieve their long-term financial goals, the top three being saving for retirement, transitioning wealth to the next generation, and paying off a mortgage.

Among those ages 40+ and more secure vs. 20s

Among those ages 30+

While nearly every high net worth investor is somewhat, if not very, happy with their financial situation today, they, too, have financial concerns like the rest of us. What keeps them up at night? Maintaining wealth throughout their lifetime with the same standard of living, having money for retirement and unexpected medical costs were some of high net worth investors’ top concerns. Nearly 90 percent of middle-aged or older investors wish they would have started saving for their goals sooner— with about half of that pointing to retirement in particular.

The state of the economy and the investment climate

The survey also gauged investors’ sentiment toward the broader economy, especially given we are experiencing fairly strong economic growth in the U.S. and globally. With the market highs and milestones we’ve crossed lately, investors are watching closely to see if the steady growth will change any time soon. Based on Morgan Stanley’s projections, we expect 2018 could be another good year for our economy, though investor sentiment is split.

The Investor Pulse Poll shows investors are almost evenly divided between those believing it will be a good time to invest and those who are neutral, with only a minority predicting this year will be bad for investments.

Erring on the side of caution, Morgan Stanley is advising investors to consider classic performers such as energy, industrials and tech. These sectors have been working well lately thanks, in part, to the return of capital spending and higher oil prices.

Stocks or equities are expected to comprise the biggest part of high net worth investors’ portfolios in 2018, especially in the tech industry. Technology is seen as the leading investment sector of 2018, followed by bio-tech and energy.

Investors continue to rely on and leverage these insights from financial professionals to build out their ideal portfolios.

 

PART TWO:

This is the second in a 3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll.

The Importance of Financial Planning – Do You Have a Plan?

More than half of high net worth investors in the U.S. currently work with a financial professional. This is according to the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. households of high net worth individuals, a third of which had investible assets of $1 million or more.

Planning is a critical component of reaching your financial goals. To plan for the rest of 2018, start by asking yourself a few questions:

·       Did you meet your 2017 financial goals? Were they feasible? Did anything major distract you from sticking to them that could still be at play?

·       Have you had any major financial changes recently (like a new job or a new home) that would impact your financial plan for 2018? How might you need to adjust your planning to accommodate those changes?

Answering these types of questions will help you see where you can make improvements this year. After reviewing your 2017 goals and identifying changes you want to make in 2018, meet with a financial advisor to discuss adjusting your financial plan. Be sure to write down your 2018 goals so you can reevaluate your progress at the end of the year.

More than half of investors polled want a comprehensive financial plan to help them achieve their financial goals, and professional help to create that plan. They also want advice that supplements any information they may receive from online financial planning tools.

Guidance on asset allocation and retirement is most sought out by those working with a financial professional. However, unmet needs remain around topics such as developing a comprehensive financial plan and wealth transfer. Though often overlooked when seeking professional guidance, investors should consider discussing these topics with a financial advisor as well. Granted, they may be less complicated, yet they are equally important to overall financial success.

 

PART THREE:

This is the third in a 3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll.

High Net Worth Millennials Confident About Reaching Their Short-Term Financial Goals – What Are They Optimistic About?

While most Americans report they are on track to achieving their long-term financial goals according to the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll, one group is particularly focused on their short-term financial success – Millennials.

There are more than 80 million millennials in the U.S., making them a large and significant cohort. As for their financial confidence, to a greater degree than high net worth investors overall, high net worth Millennials between the ages of 25 and 35 strongly agree they are on track to reach their short-term goals. However, they are a bit less confident when it comes to achieving their long-term goals. A majority of millennials who were polled cite a range of concerns—from savings and risk levels, to costs associated with aging parents and education for future generations.

Interestingly, the survey showed roughly two in three Millennials currently leverage the insight of a financial professional—more so than investors overall. These Millennials are most interested in market analysis and asset allocation. While interested in digital planning tools, they are even more likely to enlist the support of a certified financial planner to supplement online tools.

High net worth Millennials have far more optimistic expectations for global, national, state, and local economies—roughly 20 or more percentage points higher than high net worth investors across the board on expecting improvement in the next 12 months.

Indeed, Millennials are influential themselves. More so than other generations, Millennials believe in their ability to change the world and are demonstrating this credence through their commitment to giving back and their strong desire to make an impact. In fact, they are driving the sustainable investing movement.

Important information about your relationship with your Financial Advisor and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC when using a Financial Planning tool. When your Financial Advisor prepares a Financial Plan, they will be acting in an investment advisory capacity with respect to the delivery of your Financial Plan. To understand the differences between brokerage and advisory relationships, you should consult your Financial Advisor, or review our Understanding Your Brokerage and Investment Advisory Relationships brochure available at www.morganstanley.com/ourcommitment/.

You have sole responsibility for making all investment decisions with respect to the implementation of a Financial Plan. You may implement the Financial Plan at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC or at another firm. If you engage or have engaged Morgan Stanley, it will act as your broker, unless you ask it, in writing, to act as your investment adviser on any particular account.

The Investor Pulse Poll was conducted by GfK Public Communications and Social Science using the GfK KnowledgePanel. In order to qualify for this study, respondents were required to have $100,000 or more in household liquid investable assets, be between the ages of 25 and 75 years old, and be one of the primary decision makers in the household for financial matters. The Investor Pulse Poll surveyed 1,001 investors between August 15, 2017 and September 7, 2017. An oversample of 202 Millennial investors between the ages of 25-35 was also conducted during this timeframe using a blend of samples from the GfK KnowledgePanel and other online panels. High net worth investors account for 95 percent of total U.S. household investable assets by value, according to Federal Reserve data.

 

Todd Hauer is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. The information contained in this interview is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives.  Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC. CRC 2005043 1/18

 

2018 Colorado Capital Conference

On June 12-14, 2018, one hundred Coloradoans from all walks of life, from all corners of our state—both urban and rural—will attend the Colorado Capital Conference in Washington, D.C.  

Co-hosted by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), this bipartisan conference provides attendees key insights into how the U.S. government works as well as a chance to hear from and interact with our nation’s leaders.

Betty Bechtel, a Colorado attorney and past participant, says it best: "The number of quality speakers assembled at the conference exceeded my expectations. Not only were we given the opportunity to hear from such high-profile leaders, but we had the chance to interact with them and ask questions of them in an informal, candid setting. Because of this conference, I was able to watch our two U.S. Senators and their staff work together—despite their differences—to bring Coloradoans together. Everyone should experience Washington, D.C. like this once in their lifetime."

Participants are responsible for their own airfare and hotel accommodations (hotel block and room rate offered), plus a non-refundable registration fee, which covers the cost of most meals. Twelve total student scholarships are available to students of our partnering universities: Colorado Mesa University, University of Colorado, and Colorado State University.

Registration closes March 21, 2018. Attendees will be notified of their selection no later than April 16. Apply today!

Questions? Contact Event Coordinator Linde Marshall at 970.623.9388 (cell) or learn more at: Coloradomesa.edu/capital-conference

Key Differences Between House and Senate Tax Plans By Jeff Wasden

President Trump and the Big Six (Speaker Ryan, Senate President McConnell, House Ways and Means Chairman Brady, Senate Finance Chairman Hatch, Treasurer Secretary Mnuchin, and White House Economic Advisor Cohn) earlier released the Unified Framework for Tax Reform that outlined the principles for tax reform. The President has been consistent that any tax plan focus on job creation and higher wages, relief for middle class workers, and a corporate tax rate that was competitive with the rest of the industrial world.

The House release the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which outlined their proposed plan. All week, Ways and Means Committee addressed amendments to initial plan which was passed on a party line vote and moves to the House.

The Senate unveiled their plan on Thursday that has some significant differences than the House plan.

Key differences between House and Senate tax reform plans

  • Brackets: House plan has four brackets, 12%, 25%, 35%, and 39.6. Senate version keeps seven brackets but lowers the rates in brackets 10%, 12%, 22.5%, 25%, 32.5%, 35%, and 38.5%
  • Child tax credit: House increases to $1,600, Senate to $1,650 per child
  • Corporate rate: while both drop the rate to 20%, Senate delays implementation of rate cuts to 2019
  • Estate Tax: House doubles exemption to estates worth more than $10 million next year and completely phases out over six years. Senate doubles the exemption but keeps the tax
  • Major medical expenses: deduction for expenses that exceed 10% of a taxpayer’s income would be eliminated under House plan; Senate plan has no changes
  • Mortgage interest: House bill for new mortgages allows interest on the first $500,000 borrowed for a primary home while interest on second homes and home equity loans would no longer be deductible. The Senate would not change the current limit (first $1 million borrowed) but would end the deduction for home equity loans
  • State and local taxes: House bill would allow a deduction for up to $10,000 in property taxes, but end the deductions for income and sales taxes. Senate version would eliminate all of them
  • Student loan interest: Deduction eliminated by the House, no change in Senate version
  • Teacher purchases: Deductions by teachers who purchase classroom supplies eliminated in House version, no change in Senate plan

Senate plan keeps several deductions listed above (teacher expenses, student loans, medical expenses) as well as items such as adoptions (the House through markups at Ways and Means reinstated the adoption credit)

Some of the biggest changes occurred for pass-through businesses (partnerships, S corps, sole proprietorships) which are currently taxed at the individual tax rates. The Senate version would create a new deduction for those businesses in the low 30’s, well above the 20% corporate rate. Bases on Section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction that would lower the effective tax rate. It would apply to certain domestic non-service pass through income. The House in the initial plan proposed a 25% rate but in many cases, only 30% of a business owner’s income would be eligible for the lower rate with the other 70% classified as wage income. House Ways and Means changed that in committee to include lower tax rates for smaller pass-through businesses. The amendment would create a nine-percent tax rate for the first $75,000 of a married active owner who has less than $150,000 of pass-through income.

tax brackets.png

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Anyone reading the headlines knows that cyberattacks are on the rise; indeed, malware, viruses, phishing and spam are a menace. Often, hackers infiltrate targeted computer networks to corrupt crucial data files or steal personal, proprietary or financial information.

In fact, a recent Morgan Stanley poll of high net worth investors showed that data security was a leading concern, with some 72 percent saying that identity theft eclipsed other worries such as terrorism (65 percent) and illness (56 percent).

In 2016, six out of every 100 consumers were victims of identity theft. Online card transaction fraud increased by more than 40 percent last year and account takeover fraud increased more than 60 percent.

Here are some steps you can take to help shield you from dangerous cyber threats:

·       Consider signing up for an identity theft protection service. These services provide advanced detection and notification, as well as ongoing regular monitoring across all your accounts. Many of them can also act as a single point of contact to flag and resolve unusual activity.

·       Initiate a fraud alert with any of the three major credit bureaus. This initial security alert notifies potential credit grantors to verify your identification before extending credit in your name.

·       Freeze or lock your credit file with any of the three major credit bureaus. A security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans and other services that require a credit check from being approved in your name without your consent. No one can access or make changes to your credit report while it’s frozen. You may unfreeze your account temporarily when needed.

·       Monitor your financial accounts. Review your transactions regularly, consider setting up alerts to identify potential fraudulent charges and cancel or freeze cards if you notice unauthorized activity.

·       Use institutions that provide enhanced user/two-factor authentication and proactive account activity review. Ask your bank or financial institution about their investment in cybersecurity and fraud-prevention technology.

·       File your taxes early. Waiting until the last minute to file taxes could give criminals the opportunity to make a fake filing. You should also respond to outreach from the IRS right away.

·       Improve your online habits. Create complex, varied passwords and usernames. Use caution with unfamiliar websites, social media and emails. Encrypt your Wi-Fi services.

The most important action is to remain alert. In the event that you are affected by a data breach, follow up with the corporation that was breached by contacting their fraud or customer service department to find out what steps you can take, if any, to protect your information. Being informed and proactive can help mitigate the risks associated with online identity theft and any data breach.

Todd Hauer is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. The information contained in this interview is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives.  Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.

COBRT President Jeff Wasden Statement on House and Senate Budget Passage

Vice President Pence's visit to Denver last Thursday coincided with his op-ed, published in the Denver Post. The Vice President outlined the administration’s goal to give working families a real tax cut, to make the tax code simple and fair for all, and to make American businesses competitive on the global stage.

U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate budget last week, paving the way for tax reform. While the passage of the budget was a significant step forward in advancing President Trump’s top legislative priority, there are some clear warning signs for businesses anxious to see meaningful tax reform.

Our tax system has a way of creating winner and losers. As the “Big Six” unveil the details of the tax plan this week, the potential changes to various deductions that favor certain industries will bring out passionate and intense lobbying from stakeholders. As lawmakers look to simplify an inefficient and burdensome tax code, many of the exemptions and popular deductions are up for debate. So far, most of the debate has centered on state and local tax deduction (SALT), elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and the estate tax.

If you are a Twitter follower, you may have caught the recent 401(K) tweet from President Trump over concerns that changes to retirement plans could suppress savings contributions. This highlights the challenge facing Republicans who understand the importance of tax reform, not only for working families and companies, but their own political future. The Senate’s budget, adopted by the House, enacted only $1 billion in spending cuts, while allowing $1.5 trillion to be added to the national debt. Tax cuts do not pay for themselves. While we expect significant growth, increased hiring and wages by passing meaningful tax reform, we know the battle over pay-fors will only mount.

As President of the Colorado Business Roundtable, we fully support this once-in-a-generation reform of our outdated, cumbersome, uncompetitive tax code. Colorado workers should keep as much of their hard earned wages as possible. Lowering the individual rates and providing true middle class tax relief is central to this administration’s plan. Colorado businesses deserve a tax rate that provides an opportunity to compete on a level playing field. But tax reform must be done in a fiscally responsible manner. Reforms need to benefit America’s working middle class and create a fair and modern tax code.

While the passage of the budget and reconciliation instructions allows Republicans to pass tax reform without a single Democratic vote, that doesn’t necessarily mean that is the best approach. The principles of tax reform put forth by this administration should be welcomed by all- reform that is pro-growth, pro-business, and will benefit Colorado’s workers. Republicans should welcome and actively pursue bipartisan support for tax reform. Democrats would be well-suited to use their voices to put forth ideas that create wins for labor and working families. Historic tax reform will feel even better, and go a long way to reasserting congressional leadership and trust, with a bipartisan solution.  

Jeff Wasden, President
Colorado Business Roundtable
Colorado for Tax Reform Chair

Colorado Cannot Afford the 2018 Health Insurance Tax

By JEFF WASDEN, Colorado Business Roundtable, Updated: April 25, 2017 12:16 pm

The healthcare fight in Washington D.C. continues as a prolonged saga with little clarity as to when progress will be made. Meanwhile, Coloradans are facing the realities of rapidly rising health care costs with little relief in sight. At the end of the month, however, our representatives in Congress do have the option to make progress on lowering health care costs by voting to delay the Health Insurance Tax for 2018.

The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) is a brutal tax on health care that continues to cripple small and independent businesses throughout our state. While we often hear about rising premiums and unaffordable costs of healthcare for many, the HIT is an additional and specific tax on the health care plans that small business owners purchase for their employees. It’s estimated the HIT will cost businesses $500 in taxes per employee per year. A burden of this size will crush Colorado’s small businesses.

At the Colorado Business Roundtable, we prioritize creating an environment in our state for businesses to thrive and grow. The HIT works against these values and goals. Rather than adding jobs or updating equipment, businesses will have to budget for this per employee tax. Once we hinder growth for local businesses, the state suffers. Colorado businesses should pride themselves on high wages and top-of-the-line healthcare for employees. Delaying the HIT puts these aspirations in reach.

The unfortunate truth of the HIT is that the small guy is always hit the hardest. It’s Colorado’s family-owned, local enterprises — often the lifeblood of our communities — that cannot prosper under this tax. It’s important for us to fight for their success, which will no doubt bring prosperity to Colorado.

Our state was lucky when Aurora Rep. Mike Coffman, along with a strong bipartisan majority in Congress, voted to delay the HIT for 2017. The ramifications can be seen as our economy booms. Colorado is a top destination and a top place to live. This was made possible by representatives like Congressman Coffman, who have always prioritized pro-business and pro-growth legislation. By supporting the delay of the HIT for this current year, he relieved businesses that suffered under its weight from 2014 to 2016. We need him to stand with us again to vote to delay this tax.

As Congress returns to session and begins to navigate funding the budget, delaying the HIT is non-negotiable if we want our economy to thrive. The Colorado Business Roundtable hopes we can count on Congressman Coffman to vote for this delay and encourage his colleagues to do the same. Colorado cannot afford the Health Insurance Tax for 2018.

Jeff Wasden is president and CEO of Colorado Business Roundtable, a Denver-based nonprofit advocating for pro-business legislation.

As originally posted in the Aurora Sentinel

AuroraColorado Business Roundtablefeedhealth careHealth Insurance TaxHITJeff WasdenRep. Mike Coffmansmall business

F-35 Fighter Contract Vital to Colorado’s Defense Economy

Originally published here at the Denver Business Journal on November 25, 2016

The vital role that the defense sector plays in Colorado’s economy could expand in the near future if elected leaders, regardless of party or ideology, stand up for a new, fifth-generation jet fighter that already has a solid economic footprint in our state. Colorado business leaders recently learned firsthand how critically important this is when we had the rare opportunity to “fly” the cockpit simulator of the F-35 Lightning II.

The F-35 is the fifth-generation fighter jet that is enhancing America’s ability to own the skies. Ball Aerospace in Westminster is home to an exciting high-tech manufacturing facility that manufactures and tests antenna systems for the fighter. The company expects to manufacture nearly 50,000 antennas for the program in the next 25 years.  

We civilian business types, whose closest engagement with a jet fighter was the models we played with as kids, gained a deep understanding, from a pilot’s perspective, of how this aircraft is the most lethal and survivable strike fighter jet ever built.

We took two important lessons from this landmark event. First, how vital it is that America makes the F-35 a defense-funding priority in order to have an agile asset that can literally create air dominance in any environment and, as a result, meet the growing and evolving threats the nation faces in the 21st century. Equally important, we were reminded how Colorado’s energetic and expanding economy is intertwined with a strong and growing defense sector. Indeed, there are strong and sustained efforts to advocate for basing some of the new fighters here in Colorado.

Many Coloradans aren’t aware of the broad and deep economic benefit that Colorado derives from Department of Defense activity. In fact, adding up direct and indirect jobs, defense is the third-largest industry in the state, matching agriculture. Total DOD-related employment represents 5.2 percent of the state workforce, or 170,000 jobs, accounting for $11.6 billion in total labor earnings. This accounts for 6.5 percent of the Gross Regional Product (GRP).

The F-35 program is no exception.  Throughout the state, the fighter has 22 suppliers in Colorado and supports 750 direct and indirect jobs, providing an annual economic impact of $60 million throughout the state.

One of the key aspects of Colorado’s attractiveness for military-oriented jobs such as those at Ball Aerospace is our growing and well-deserved reputation as a magnet for high-tech workers. While many assume that the smaller tech startups are the most important magnet for these workers, defense-oriented jobs are attracted by – and attractive to – these men and women. A study released last year by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs detailed the vibrant synergy between direct military activity and related companies that work with the defense sector. The report specifically cited the “crossflow” between DOD and private industry and calling it a self-reinforcing relationship that concentrates talent, productive capacity and innovation.”

The report also underscored that Colorado’s private sector technology based companies provide a stable and reliable base for DOD that helps weather the ups and downs of the lifecycles of products and technologies.

Colorado is a vital, fertile location not only for defense jobs but for private-sector companies and entrepreneurs who work with the military. This is the fruit of years of bipartisan work to demonstrate that Colorado is second-to-none as a location to grow high-quality jobs at exciting, innovative companies. With programs such as the F-35 and other cutting-edge defense assets earning support, Colorado can continue to be an indispensable player in America’s national security – to the lasting benefit of our nation and our economy. 

Jeff Wasden, President and CEO
Colorado Business Roundtable (COBRT) 

Manufacturing Means Jobs in Colorado

[This op-ed was originally published here in the Reporter Herald on August 18, 2016.]

In Colorado, we are known for many things: beautiful mountains, unbeatable skiing, world-class dining and breathtaking national parks, to name a few. However, what doesn't get enough recognition is our manufacturing sector, a powerhouse essential to our Rocky Mountain economy.

How important exactly is manufacturing to our state's economy? One of the best measures of an industry's contribution to an economy is its exports. In 2013, exports in Colorado's advanced manufacturing sector totaled $4.8 billion. That accounted for 93 percent of Colorado's exports.

As president of the Colorado Business Roundtable, it is my responsibility to understand what industries, policies and trends are driving the Colorado economy. Over the last few years, our economy has performed well compared to the rest of the nation. We have seen decreases in the unemployment rate, increases in our GDP and an incredible tourism boom, all of which have marked Colorado as a leader in economic recovery following the Great Recession.

Despite these gains, we must not forget the importance of one of the largest forces behind our economic success — manufacturing. That sector can propel our economy and job growth even further, in tandem with our tourism and business sectors. New manufacturing plants have a ripple effect; the creation of one job within a manufacturing plant leads to the creation of several more.

Consider a technology manufacturer in Denver selling its product across the United States; that income not only creates direct jobs at the factory itself, but it also creates jobs at the company that sells utilities to the factory with indirect jobs. It also provides induced jobs at gas stations, grocery stores and retail shops as all of these job holders spend their increased disposable income within the Colorado community. Each manufacturing job at that plant in Denver created about 2.5 additional jobs in other sectors of the economy. In the past year alone, Colorado manufacturers were responsible for creating an estimated 43,615 jobs.

These manufacturers are not necessarily giant corporations; many are small businesses, with less than 500 employees. Currently, there are 5,900 companies in Colorado that work in advanced manufacturing, of which 5,700 export. Of those that export, 88 percent of manufacturers are small or medium-sized employers.

These small businesses are what define our communities and local economies. They are owned by hard-working Coloradans, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Supporting manufacturing in Colorado isn't just supporting our economy; it's supporting small business and the citizens who own those businesses.

In 2015, manufacturing employment surpassed the 2015 forecast by the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business, making it the fifth consecutive year of gains. Let's make 2017 its sixth year. In 2015, real GDP in manufacturing grew by 3 percent year-over-year, making it the eighth fastest-growing industry in Colorado. These numbers show manufacturing's serious economic impact to our state.

Let's keep growing Colorado. Grow manufacturing, grow our economy.

 

Jeff Wasden is the president of Colorado Business Roundtable.