McInnis offers up economic ‘roadmap’ with a few strange turns

LITTLETON — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis today released a seven-page “Roadmap to Revitalization,” which like most political plans is long on catch phrases and short on details.

He handed copies of the plan to media members while touring PROformance Apparel in Littleton — part of his final push to Tuesday’s GOP primary against Evergreen businessman Dan Maes.

Scott McInnis at a Littleton clothing retailer Thursday. Photo by Scot Kersgaard
In a nutshell, the plan calls for making Colorado more pro-business by reducing regulations and holding the line on taxes.

“Colorado needs a governor who is willing to revise the job-killing oil and gas regulations that have made our state one of the most unfriendly environments for energy exploration in the country and caused the loss of thousands of jobs in the last year alone — to Texas, Pennsylvania and other states able to provide a more friendly business environment,” the plan reads, reiterating a common refrain from the McInnis camp despite evidence to the contrary.

He said working to attract new business to the state is important, but that it is equally important to make sure businesses here now stay and grow. The owners of PROformance said their biggest hindrance to growth is access to capital. McInnis didn’t promise to fix that but said having a governor who has served in Congress would be a big advantage because he knows how to work with the federal government. “You have to have someone who understands the federal process,” he said.

“Never again should Colorado be unresponsive or caught napping while employers pack up and move away, as has been the case with Denver’s recent loss of the corporate headquarters for Frontier and Qwest,” reads the Roadmap.

A Frontier spokesperson told the Colorado Independent several months ago that the company’s decision to move its headquarters out of Denver was the result of numerous factors, of which taxes were not the compelling reason. She also said Frontier has hired more than 300 people in Denver since relocating its headquarters and now employs more than 3,700 people in Denver.

The plan says McInnis will support TABOR and “will not seek to hide behind legal niceties and dictionary definitions to disguise tax increases.”

McInnis said Colorado spending is out of control. “The path we are on is unsustainable and grows worse with each day that our state goes without the strong leadership needed to tackle and solve this mounting fiscal problem,” the plan states.

He said that too often state agencies look to maximize their own revenues and influence first, and only look to help residents and businesses after that, and he added that would change in his administration. He said the governor appoints about 3,500 people to run agencies and serve on boards and commissions and that who you appoint and what you ask of them makes all the difference.

While noting verbally that in Colorado the Legislature writes the budget, his plan states that he intends to get the state on zero-based budgeting. “Colorado can no longer afford to institutionalize the mistakes of yesterday by incorporating them in our budgets for tomorrow. As governor, Scott McInnis will insist on starting over from zero with every department and having them justify each expenditure using rigorous cost/benefit analysis. Every dollar spent will represent a deliberate and strategic investment in Colorado’s future.”

The plan says McInnis will benchmark the state against best practices nationwide and insist that any state department found to be lagging when compared with national standards be reformed.

His plan calls on every Coloradan to get involved in fixing state government: “The McInnis administration will seek to augment accountability by utilizing crowd sourcing to ensure that every Coloradan who sees government inefficiency, waste or abuse has the tools needed to bring that information to light and have it acted upon.”

One odd note in the plan came in a section on high-tech: “The information technology sector in Colorado is one of our hidden jewels, with over 5,500 employees and an annual payroll in excess of $4.5 billion.” We know Rolly Fischer is no longer McInnis’ official fact checker, but the new person may not be much better. If those numbers are correct, the average IT worker earns nearly $1 million a year. Hidden jewel indeed.

Editor’s note: A McInnis official Friday said the high-tech hidden jewels section of the roadmap contained a typo. It should have read “5,500 employers,” not “employees.”

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Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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