What is BBCO?
BBCO is a nonpartisan, statewide outreach effort started in 2015 to engage Coloradans — in person and online – in a constructive fact-based conversation to explore public policies to improve our state.
Who’s behind BBCO?
BBCO is a diverse and nonpartisan coalition of Coloradans from across the state, including representatives of the business and non-profit communities, as well as current and former elected officials, with the shared belief that Colorado can be better, and the pathway to a better Colorado rests in engaging Coloradans from across the state in an honest conversation about how we can improve public policies for our state and, in so doing, create a brighter future for us all.
What is BBCO’s goal?
While BBCO recognizes that Colorado is wrestling with several public policy challenges, BBCO does not advocate for any specific solutions to those challenges. Rather, BBCO convenes politically-balanced panels of subject-matter experts to define a range of potential policy options, and then engages citizens in a constructive conversation to evaluate the merits of those different policy options. By giving control of the outcome to those whom we engage in the conversation, BBCO gives ownership of the policy challenge – and responsibility for implementing an appropriate solution to that challenge – to the people.
How does BBCO engage the public in this non-partisan conversation?
BBCO engages the public in this statewide conversation through both 37 community meetings across the state and through a parallel virtual conversation online. We work with local established leaders in each community to build a guest list for our community meetings which includes 200-400 people who collectively reflect the unique demographic diversity within each community, and we invite all Coloradans to participate in our online conversation.
Why aren’t BBCO’s community meetings open to the public?
We believe the best policy solutions for Colorado will be found by engaging the diverse audiences across our great state in an honest and fact-based conversation about what we want our state to be; therefore, it’s important to BBCO that our community meetings represent a balanced perspective which is reflective of Colorado as a whole, and not a more narrow perspective that’s disproportionately influenced by political ideologies or organizational agendas. We work with local community leaders – who have been selected by the community — to build a guest list for each community that includes the breadth of diversity within their community.
Does BBCO’s model of empowering citizens really work to find consensus which results in positive change?
In 2015, BBCO engaged over 10,000 Coloradans in a non-partisan conversation to consider over 30 potential options about how we might improve our state’s fiscal policy, ballot initiative process, and election systems. Out of that statewide conversation grew consensus around five policy ideas.
Three of BBCO’s policy options were later carried forward to the 2016 ballot by campaigns which were separate and independent of BBCO and all three were ultimately adopted by voters:
- Initiative Process: In order to protect our constitution and ensure more statewide participation in proposed amendments to it, require that petition signatures for future citizen-initiated amendments come from different geographic areas of the state, and require that future amendments which propose to add language to the constitution pass by more than just a simple-majority.
- Election System: Reinstate a Presidential Primary in Colorado to encourage more participation in the Primary election.
- Election System: Create a “semi-open” Primary election in order to make it easier for unaffiliated voters (the largest and fastest-growing block of voters in Colorado) to participate.
A fourth BBCO recommendation was later adopted by the Colorado legislature in 2017:
- Fiscal Policy: Remove from the TABOR revenue limit the Hospital Provider Fee revenue which provides additional state funding for Colorado’s expanded Medicaid population, thus avoiding reductions in key state investments like higher education.
The fifth BBCO recommendation was explored by an independent campaign committee in 2016 but not pursued due to strategic challenges related to the 2016 ballot:
- Fiscal Policy: Allow the state to retain and invest in education, transportation, senior services and mental health care any tax revenues that TABOR would otherwise require to be refunded to the taxpayers.
What is BBCO’s plan going forward?
Based on the enthusiasm BBCO witnessed from participants in its 2015 statewide conversations, “Building a Better Colorado” is committed to continuing a statewide conversation to help move Colorado forward. BBCO will continue to examine Colorado’s fiscal policy, including what level of service citizens want from their state government, how the fiscal formulas which we’ve embedded into our constitution over the years have affected the state’s ability to meet those citizen expectations, and how we might better align the performance of state government with the expectations of citizens, particularly in the areas of education and infrastructure.
BBCO will host additional meetings in communities across the state, coupled with a robust online engagement platform that allows EVERY Coloradan to participate in this conversation and offer their opinion on how to make our state better.
Will BBCO pursue ballot measures to implement any of the consensus policy ideas which grow out of its next statewide conversation?
No. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, BBCO does not advocate for any specific policies, nor does it pursue the implementation of any such policies.
Who makes the operational decisions for BBCO?
BBCO maintains a diverse and politically-balanced Executive Committee made up of thought leaders from both the business and non-profit communities. Current members of the Executive Committee include:
- Tracee Bentley, Exec Dir, Colo Petroleum Council
- Denise Burgess, Chair, Denver Metro Chamber
- Mario Carrera, Chief Revenue Officer, Entravision
- Don Childears, CEO, Colorado Bankers Assn
- Stanton Dodge, General Counsel, DISH Network
- Tim Foster, President, Colorado Mesa University
- Tom Gougeon, President, Gates Family Foundation
- Jim Gunning, Former Mayor, City of Lone Tree
- Steve Halstedt, Centennial Ventures
- Ted Harms, Exec Director, The Anschutz Foundation
- John IKard, Former CEO, FirstBank
- Gail Klapper, Director, Colorado Forum
- Joelle Martinez, Exec Dir, Latino Leadership Institute
- Dan Ritchie, Chancellor Emeritus, Univ of Denver
- Lee White, Exec VP, George K Baum & Co
- Al Yates, President Emeritus, Colo State Univ
- Dave Younggren, CEO, Gary Community Investments
10Where does BBCO get its funding?
Where does BBCO get its funding?
BBCO operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and accepts donations from a variety of charitable donors, including individuals and several statewide foundations, including the Gates Family Foundation, the Piton Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation, the Caring for Colorado Foundation, the Buell Foundation, and the Bohemian Foundation. BBCO welcomes the support of everyone who embraces BBCO’s mission to host a constructive non-partisan statewide conversation to improve Colorado.”