A Mayor on a Mission in a City of Success
About an hour south of Denver Colorado lies the sprawling city of Colorado Springs. Known by locals as “The Springs”, it is surrounded by picturesque mountains and notable landmarks such as Pike’s Peak, Red Rock Canyon and Garden of the Gods. The skies bustle with commercial and private planes; flanked by military aircraft from Peterson Air Force Base. Below the busy sky’s, visitors can find the United States Air Force Academy which is home to over 6,000 of our nation’s best and brightest cadets. All these amazing attractions contribute to the success of Colorado Springs.
The Springs has a population of 659,000 making it Colorado’s 2nd largest city. It was ranked the #1 most desirable place to live by USA Today & World Report in 2018. This ranking was no accident as Colorado Springs has had tremendous leadership under Mayor John Suthers. Suthers served as Colorado’s Attorney General for 10 years before he was elected Mayor in 2015.
Suthers has made it a point to allow the free market to flourish with minimal taxes and regulation. Even as the Colorado State House piles unfunded regulations on their local governments, he hasn’t taken the bait. It appears his best policy achievements have been the ones he has chosen not to support. As an example: The Colorado State House passed a flurry of bills over the last couple years, empowering local governments to regulate and/or tax plastic bags, vaping, oil and gas operators and marijuana to name a few. He has not to pursue any of those regulations or taxes.
Suthers points to economic development as being the driver of good wages and a thriving community. Colorado Springs provides potential new business a point person through its office of economic development. This point person serves as a conduit of information and immediate response. This arrangement builds good partnerships with perspective businesses. They also have a narrow criteria for tax incentives, this way they can capture much needed revenue without fleecing the taxpayer. This arrangement has worked well as the Colorado Springs area is set to become a distribution hub for an Amazon fulfillment center which will create upwards of 3000 new jobs.
Good governance, free markets and outdoor amenities are the secret sauce to Colorado Springs success. It stands a model for other large cities if they can embrace government restraint and free enterprise.