Important issues face 71st General Assembly

March 9, 2017

By Senate President Kevin Grantham

As the first session of the 71st General Assembly gets underway, I find myself turning to our state’s constitution for guidance, the preamble of which laid the groundwork for our continued growth and priorities. Justice, tranquility, and liberty are values all Coloradans hold dear, values that Senate Republicans will continue to fight for this legislative session. Our state is growing at an unprecedented rate, and every day new folks are choosing to call Colorado home. With this surge in population, we cannot afford inaction on some of our state’s most pressing issues any longer, and Senate Republicans will make certain that the needs of every Coloradan are our top priority. To that end, Republicans in the legislature will continue to prioritize adequate funding to ensure the safe and secure condition of our bridges and roadways, we will reach across the aisle to spearhead creative solutions to solve the housing crisis in our state, and as part of our ongoing endeavors to create a better economic climate for all Coloradans, we will work tirelessly to repeal burdensome regulations and hidden taxes on job creators in our state. This session, Coloradans can rest assured that Senate Republicans will be steadfast champions for those values that unite us.

Our state’s bridges and roadways are in shambles, and endless gridlock and congestion not only affect every Coloradan, but also impose upon commerce and cost our state and taxpayers. We can no longer wring our hands waiting, it is time to address adequate transportation funding in Colorado. Our current infrastructure needs exceed nine billion dollars, including three and half billion in shovel ready projects on the priority list awaiting funding. With more and more people moving to our state every day, our roads will only continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate and our time in traffic will rise. It is time to develop real solutions to improve Colorado’s infrastructure and ensure the safety of every family, every time they travel our state roads and bridges. Those solutions must and will respect the needs and priorities of Coloradans. Senate Republicans will not write a blank check at the taxpayer’s expense. This session, we will address our transportation needs, while ensuring the protection of the will of Colorado taxpayers.

With over 100,000 new residents last year alone, but only about 25,000 new houses built, Colorado is in the midst of a housing crisis. Home ownership is a crucial component to achieving the American Dream, and Senate Republicans want to remove barriers and help every Coloradan start on a pathway to accessible, affordable housing. In that vein, we will fight to mitigate back end costs and encourage builders to build. Currently, demand for new condos and homes far outweigh the supply, we will seek to end that discrepancy. Every young person, every new family, every transplant and native deserves the opportunity to own a home and Senate Republicans want to provide that opportunity.

Though a perpetual objective, regulatory reform and the promotion of a healthy economy and strong business climate is no less important this session than any other. Senate Republicans are committed to reducing regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles that inhibit business startups, stifle job creation, and limit growth in Colorado. Our state averages 15,000 pages of new rules and regulations every year. These hidden taxes are job killers and we would be remiss as public servants to allow such fatal detriment to our economy to occur on our watch. We will work with small businesses—the engine of our economy—to repeal these redundancies and ensure that job creation in Colorado is a top priority for this body.

‘We the people,’ it is the phrase that will guide your Senate Republican leadership team this session. ‘We the people,’ it reminds us for whom we work, it reminds us that we are stronger together, it reminds us of the guiding principles on which our state was founded and of the values—justice, tranquility, and liberty—which we all hold so dear. This session, we will fight for Colorado roads and bridges, for accessible housing, for more jobs and less regulation. We will fight for our future. This session, Senate Republicans will work for the people, that is our guarantee.

Sen. Kevin Grantham serves District 2 and is President of the Colorado State Senate.

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