When John Hickenlooper was sworn in as governor of Colorado in 2011, the nation was in the midst of the Great Recession. Colorado's unemployment rate had spiked to 9.1 percent. The state was struggling to balance its books, unable to appropriately fund many necessary statewide programs, and putting only 2 percent of the state's general fund into emergency reserves for unexpected catastrophes like natural disasters. Bipartisanship at the capitol was the stuff of wishful thinking. When it came to job creation—a telling barometer of economic performance—Colorado was ranked 40th in the nation.
In the four years since John took office, Colorado's unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1 percent. Colorado has created a total of more than 200,000 new jobs. The state's last four budgets were balanced and passed with bipartisan support. These budgets have enabled the state to begin to restore funds to the programs that had been slashed—like education—and also have put the state in a position where we have begun to steadily increase the emergency reserves. As of 2015, the state will be setting aside 6.5 percent of its budget for emergencies. When it comes to job creation, Colorado has improved from 40th in the nation to fourth. Colorado is now ranked second best place to start a business, second best for innovation and entrepreneurship, and first in the nation for labor supply. We now have the fastest growing economy in the country.