GOP mines public input via Web to streamline state government

/ Colorado News Agency
Oct 7th, 2010

IMG_1048A new website launched Wednesday by GOP lawmakers invites the public to submit their ideas, from the perspective of taxpayers and business owners, on how to formulate public policy that fosters economic growth.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, of Littleton, who along with his GOP colleagues has been meeting with constituents in their districts, says frustrated citizens and employers are eager to share their ideas for better public policy going forward. The website, says Kopp, will afford the public the opportunity to articulate their ideas while giving lawmakers a window into the real world as they put together a legislative agenda for 2011.

“Our 2011 legislative agenda has been crafted through discussions we have had with taxpayers and employers across the state,” said Kopp. “This website is a direct result of our desire to have a clearing house for private-sector ideas aimed at getting spending under control and the economy up and running.”

The website, www.SolutionsForColorado.com, is designed to give taxpayers and employers the opportunity to join the discussion on how to streamline government operations and cut burdensome regulations, according to a news release from the Senate Minority Office, which designed, launched and will monitor the website.

From the other side of the aisle, Senate Majority leader John Morse, of Colorado Springs, said that his Republican counterparts are reinventing the wheel with their website and that  it falls short of solving the problems the state is facing.

“I don’t fault the Republicans in any way shape or form for soliciting ideas,” said Morse.  President (Brandon) Shaffer and I did it a year ago when we went across the state, where people lived instead of asking them to come to our website.  The Republicans are generally a year or two behind the power curve, at least, if not 30 years behind.”

Morse also said that he has been hearing from people about jobs, the economy, spending, and taxes but that the answers are difficult to arrive at.

“I ask people all the time—‘Do you have any brainy ideas?’– the answer is, almost always, literally, ‘no, I don’t and that’s why I’m glad that there’s people like you going out there to think about this and try to figure it out.’  ”

Occasionally, says Morse, they will proffer a suggestion to cut government spending, but when he explains what services will have to be cut, they generally say, “Wow, this is more complicated than I thought.”  Adds Morse—“There’s no question, it’s plenty complicated.”

Employment opportunities is the refrain that Kopp says he and his caucus are hearing , and the website, says Kopp, will help guide policy makers toward policy that businesses can thrive in through conversations with people on the ground.

“Economic recovery only occurs when government policies are not hindering job growth. Our focus is on fostering an environment where businesses can start growing and creating jobs,” said Kopp.

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