Even positive political ads deserve a closer look with a Trust Test.
Democratic candidate for governor, Jared Polis, has a positive ad highlighting what he provided his employees as a business owner.
Toward the end of the ad, Polis makes the following statement:
CLAIM: "Wages haven't kept up with the cost of living. We need an economy that works for everyone."
VERDICT: It's true that wages have not kept up with the cost of living. What that and the economy have to do with the Governor needs context.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, has data that you can get lost in for hours. One dataset includes: average weekly earnings for Colorado workers.
BLS also tracks Consumer Price Index, which can be narrowed to a specific area like the Denver Metro Area. The CPI is a value that shows the cost of goods and services over time.
Over the last 10 years, the data shows that nearly each year, the amount of money workers were making year-to-year went up at a lower rate than the amount that goods and services increased.
In years 2012 and 2013, wages went up at a higher rate than goods and services. Every other year, and for the last four years, goods and services have increased in price at a higher rate than employee wages have increased.
What does that have to do with the job of Governor?
The governor alone cannot raise wages or improve the economy. State lawmakers could pass a bill to raise the state's minimum wage and the governor could sign that bill into law.
Just like we've seen with the wooing of Amazon for its second headquarters, the governor can encourage businesses to come to Colorado and bring higher paying jobs. Those businesses are often offered tax credits or benefits that are negotiated with chambers of commerce, economic development committees, city councils and/or county commissioners; a group effort, not the governor alone.
BOTTOM LINE: The ad is factual when it states that wages haven't kept up with the cost of living. It's just important to understand the direct or indirect role that the Governor has over wages and the economy.