Colorado has seen great economic growth and business diversity throughout the last few years across the state, including parts of Western Colorado. The reason businesses want to relocate, expand or start in Colorado is based on a variety of tools in our economic development toolbox that help businesses. Coloradans also enjoy a low income tax rate (hopefully to decrease if approved by the voters on the November ballot) and generally business-friendly policies.
Colorado’s low-tax and business-friendly environment is at risk if the National Popular Vote Compact is passed. The threat to the economic stability and vitality of our Colorado businesses is precisely why more than 31 boards of county commissioners and chambers of commerce from across the state, including our local Grand Junction and Fruita chambers, are opposed to the national popular vote.
During the 2019 session, the Legislature passed, with bipartisan opposition, and the governor signed into law a bill that gave Colorado’s nine electoral college votes for president to a compact of states known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Along with Mayor Don Wilson of Monument and more than 2,200 grassroots volunteers, I helped lead a statewide referendum effort to put the question to the people of Colorado on the November ballot.
The states leading the compact are of no surprise to any of us: California and New York. In fact, at one point, 98 percent of funding for the proponents of the National Popular Vote came from California. Make no mistake about it: California really, really wants Colorado’s votes for president.
If you look at the map of the states in the National Popular Vote Compact, they are all blue states with high tax policies and unfriendly business environments. If the National Popular Vote Compact is successful, these states will have the most influence over national business policy as they will chose our next president.
Colorado has had the ability to have conversations with presidential candidates on both side of the political aisle on important national policy issues — such as transportation, infrastructure and water, all key components of Colorado’s diverse economy. They have traveled around our state and made visits even to Grand Junction. Why would we want to give our voice and vote away to higher population states, like California and New York?
Colorado would account for 1.8 percent of the national population. Our influence would be substantially diminished, if it exists at all. Coloradans have the most to lose if Colorado’s electoral college votes are given to the National Popular Vote Compact. Did you know that because of the different state rules for getting on a ballot, Colorado’s electoral college votes could go to a presidential candidate who isn’t even on Colorado’s ballot? That’s not fair to Coloradans or in our best interest.
The other side argues that under the national popular vote, presidential candidates will visit all 50 states. However, we have seen that candidates have ignored the rural areas of Colorado. Remember the Club 20 debates where gubernatorial and senatorial candidates refused to debate and talk to rural communities about our issues? Now, picture that on a national level. Colorado will be ignored, especially when it comes to developing national policies that are in the best interest of Colorado’s businesses.
Let’s stand up for Colorado’s businesses and keep Colorado’s votes for president where they belong: in Colorado with Coloradans. Vote no on 113.
Rose Femia Pugliese is a Mesa County Commissioner and one of the organizers of an effort to put to a vote Colorado participation in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.