Democratic Policies Are Crippling Colorado

By Patricia Mullett

As the pandemic recedes and life theoretically returns to “normal,” Coloradans have been bombarded by a new set of challenges and difficulties. 

Nationally, inflation is out-of-control and reaching record-highs. Colorado’s inflation rate is higher than the national average, with Denver’s rate reaching 9.1% in April. Experts have predicted that Colorado’s inflation rate will continue to exceed wage increases and will return to “normal” in 2024. 

Crime is skyrocketing, not only in Denver and other cities along the Front Range, but in rural towns across the state. Fentanyl has penetrated all our communities. We rank #2 in the nation for the fastest increase in fentanyl overdoses and lead the nation in motor vehicle theft. 

Our educational system is failing – and failing is not an exaggeration. Denver Public Schools recently released their mid-year assessments which indicated that 95% of black and brown third-graders and 70% of white third-graders aren’t meeting grade-level expectations. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a Denver problem – last year, over 50% of Colorado students in grades 3, 5, and 7 did not meet grade-level expectations in both English and Math. Our educational system has failed our students and cheated them out of future opportunities. 

Simply put: Coloradans are struggling. The public policies enacted in our state have had devastating consequences. Democrats have had sufficient time to implement their policies in Colorado, controlling the governor’s office since 2007 and having a majority in both the House and Senate for twelve out of the past eighteen years – and we’re seeing the results. The results are all the ugly statistics I laid out in the first three paragraphs. 

I understand that national and international actions affect our state, but at the end of the day, the only real way to measure the effectiveness of policy is by results. If you disagree, I suggest a little experiment – let Republicans control the state government for fifteen years and compare the results of those fifteen years to the past fifteen. 

There are solutions to all the problems I listed above. This session alone, Republican legislators have been proposing legislation to address all the crises Coloradans are facing. They’ve proposed tax cuts so families can keep more of their hard-earned money and small businesses can grow. They’ve proposed tough-on-crime policies and increasing public safety resources so law enforcement can train and retain quality officers and get drugs off our streets. They’ve proposed school choice initiatives that would allow students to leave the schools that are failing them. 

And most of this legislation has died as Democrats instead choose to increase state spending, ignore the voices of law enforcement, and propose empty and false solutions to our educational crisis.

I want many of the same things Democrats do – I want emptier prisons, an equal justice system, safer streets for every member of society, and for poverty to be a distant memory. I believe the best part of this nation is grounded in equality and justice. I hold many of the same ideals – I just don’t believe progressive policies are the way we’re going to create this better world. 

Tough-on-crime policies work; cutting taxes helps middle and lower-income families the most; school choice requires schools to improve and ensure their students have the tools they need to work. 

We live in a culture hyper-fixated on quick fixes. We want our problems solved immediately. But just as it takes time to achieve other goals and dreams, it takes time to achieve good things through public policy. 

Furthermore, many of the solutions Republicans propose carry immediate consequences that initially feel counterproductive. Tough-on-crime policies temporarily inflate jail populations. Tax cuts seem counterintuitive when a 0.5% reduction saves a family a few bucks but saves corporations millions of dollars. Policies to increase transparency and choice in education won’t fix our broken education system overnight. 

The hard truth is: it takes time to see the effect of public policy. Although all of these things will improve the lives of Coloradans, we must have the patience and perspective to see the big picture. Republicans have proven solutions. It’s time to implement the solutions we know will work. 

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About the Author:

Patricia Mullett grew up along the Front Range. She currently works for the Colorado House Republicans and wrote this in her personal capacity.