Passage of 1A will ensure city’s long-term economic vitality

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By Douglas Stimple

CEO of Classic Cos.

Do you believe our community needs to take more decisive steps to create, attract and retain jobs for our residents and families? If you are one of the 79 percent of our residents who indicated such a belief in a recent community poll, an opportunity exists to make that a reality.

Vote “yes” on Issue 1A; entitled JOBS on your ballot.

Economic vitality is the No. 1 strategic objective in our city’s Strategic Plan. Yet it is also one of the only objectives without any meaningful, dedicated funding sources. Having a healthy, growing economy is of vital public interest, especially in a community that is heavily reliant upon sales taxes to provide the services we demand and enjoy, and to assure that those services can be provided for the least burden possible on all of us.

This is an investment by our residents, for our residents.

It is often stated that quality of life begins with a good job. Never have so many of us felt the reality behind that thought. Are you aware that on average over the past two decades we have lost 2,000 jobs each year and that in the last year alone we lost over 6,000 jobs?

Are you aware that just to employ our resident population and our children we need to create approximately 2,500 jobs each year?

The jobs that Colorado Springs has created, attracted and retained over the past decade have been filled by existing residents over 93 percent of the time. Yes, these are demonstrable and unassailable facts which require us to think strategically and thoughtfully as we assess our future.

Please take the time to understand the JOBS proposal; do not be swayed solely by sound bite messaging that focuses on the negatives.

The JOBS measure is a public-private partnership that builds on the successes of the past and enhances our ability to compete in the marketplace of economic vitality. Without raising taxes, JOBS will provide a meaningful funding stream for our community to invest in jobs.

This meaningful funding stream is built from a modest investment by each of us – about $10 per year on a median priced home. This is not a tax increase; rather it is a request by our city to leave in place the mill levy that is already in existence and to dedicate that money to jobs.

We have an educated work force, an exemplary quality of life and educational facilities that are growing in size and reputation. By taking advantage of these assets and the funding stream created by JOBS, we will be able to take our underemployed and make them appropriately employed, and we will take our unemployed and provide them a living wage.

The Colorado Springs City Council, with advice and input from a Citizen’s Advisory Committee, will govern these funds. The process will be transparent and the measure will sunset. These funds will be invested with appropriate criteria and metrics in place, such as number of jobs created or retained, average wage of these jobs, and investment in plant and equipment. In short, the focus will be on return on investment.

Potential uses of these funds include: assisting current employers to expand their facilities for new jobs, partnering with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs or Pikes Peak Community College to retain our young professionals and train workers for quality jobs, marketing the community to potential employers, supporting local start-up companies, using these funds as matching grants for state and federal funds, paying for a needed piece of community infrastructure to allow for expansion or attraction, and supporting research and development efforts within growing business clusters.

We as a community must continue to focus on all facets of our business climate to ensure that Colorado Springs remains a great place to live and work. Make no mistake that the JOBS measure is only one part of the arsenal that is needed for our community to continue to create job opportunities, but it is a critical component that is currently missing.

As a community, let us determine that the time has come for us to make an investment in our collective future and the future of our children. Please vote “yes” on 1A JOBS.

Douglas Stimple is CEO of Classic Cos.

4 Responses to Passage of 1A will ensure city’s long-term economic vitality

  1. I don’t believe that Colorado Springs can afford 1A at this time. I also believe that it is not the role of city government to choose winners and losers. Brokering a deal to assist one entity over another or over others is morally wrong and cracks the door to unsavory business dealings.

    Programs such as 1A, once in place, have a very annoying tendency to grow and become permanent. Government doesn’t create jobs, anyway. The people do. Government merely taxes everything that moves and doesn’t move.

    Janice T
    March 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

  2. Mr. Stimple,
    You neglected to mention that the Citizen Advisory Committee will be a group appointed by City Council.

    Given the current fumbling of the USOC deal I find no reason to give City Council more money to dispose of under the “supervision” of a group that council appoints. At another time, this may have worked, but not now and not with this council.

    Jason H
    March 30, 2009 at 11:31 am

  3. At $10 a year per home how can we afford not to give this a shot. In a perfect world I would like to reduce taxes too, but it is hard to ignore that we are losing jobs to other communities that are willing to offer incentives. I’m assuming no one that likes having a job wants that to continue. The return on this investment could be incredible.

    Joe L
    March 31, 2009 at 1:17 pm

  4. As long the stink of the Rivera/Ray Marshall/USOC fiasco is hanging over city council, the taxpayers won’t approve funding for a extra roll of toilet paper.

    The proper thing to do in for Rivera to resign now that he is damaged goods and for the City Council to try and turn over a new leaf with taxpayers.

    Let’s focus on the things that make the city great, like improving out streets and bike paths(and sweeping them once in a while) watering our parks, and maintaining our open spaces.

    Having a great city that people want to live in will bring the jobs in, not shady “deals” that raise money by making end runs around the taxpayers with COP’s

    I’d vote for a tax increase for parka and rec and to provide them with more water and maintainence money. Lets use more volunteers for city services too, untill things turn around.

    Reginald Deveau Francklyn
    June 24, 2009 at 8:27 am