Highlights From Beyond the Boom: Telling the Story of Economic Mobility in Colorado

Earlier this year we released our Guide to Economic Mobility, highlighting some of the forces affecting Coloradans’ ability to get ahead and stay ahead. Although headlines continually boast Colorado’s preeminent position as a top state economy, the guide clearly shows we must go beyond the boom.

To explore this further, the Bell Policy Center hosted a panel discussion with some local journalists to continue the important conversation about the impact these forces have on families across the state. Members of the media have a front-row seat to the prosperity and struggles of our state, so we asked them to look beyond the boom and tell the story of economic mobility in Colorado as they see it in their reporting.

Bell President Scott Wasserman put it perfectly when introducing the Beyond the Boom panelists: “We live in an era where when politicians hear facts they find inconvenient, they say ‘fake news.’ It’s really important we have media outlets that actually talk about the facts and gauge the reactions they hear.”

Thank you to Denver Post’s Brian Eason, Colorado Inside Out’s Dominic Dezzutti, and The Colorado Independent’s Tina Griego for joining us and sharing their unique perspectives on the issues we face and how to prepare for the future. A big thank you as well to our moderator, Maximillian Potter, who helped guide the conversation to focus on the forces identified in the guide: changing demographics, dwindling public investments, a strong but unequal state economy, and the future of work.

The panelists discussed everything from housing to child care, education to automation, TABOR to the urban-rural divide. Some facts popped for the audience, including:

  • Colorado ranks 39th in preschool spending, only serving 20 percent of 3- and 4-year-old kids.
  • The top 1 percent of Coloradans take home nearly 17 percent of the state’s total wealth.
  • It takes 24 percent of a median household’s income to attend a four-year public university in Colorado.

The clip below features some highlights of the event.

Beyond the Boom: A Panel Discussion