The Chamber has been at the forefront of a number of business issues so far this year. . . and with it being an election year there is even more to come. Here is a quick rundown on some of the issues and the Chamber’s current role:
- After the Grand Valley Drainage District court decision declaring their fee an unconstitutional tax many were clamoring for a refund of the fees. The Chamber leadership has met with the Drainage District leadership and leadership of the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority to see how we might be able to assist both entities in moving forward to address the stormwater mitigation issues that still exist and still threaten homes and businesses. The District leadership is committed to refunding the fees and is working to determine the best way to proceed. The 5-2-1 Drainage Authority has begun meeting regularly and is updating a whitepaper developed several years ago that provided a roadmap for addressing stormwater on a valley wide basis. We will keep you updated.
- Air service is vital for business development and tourism development but the playing field has changed in attracting more flights into a marketplace. A variety of factors in the airline industry (less planes and a pilot shortage for instance) have made it more difficult to attract service purely on the basis of community need. Minimum air service guarantees have become common place even in growing markets such as Grand Junction in order to mitigate risk for carriers. The guarantees may or may not be needed but they are essential to beginning a conversation, similar to incentives being discussed with companies looking to relocate to a community. That is a primary driver of the Chamber’s decision to support the increase in the lodging tax that City residents will vote on in November. We pay 10.75% lodging tax when we travel to Denver and it is fair to ask that our visitors help support our efforts to boost travel and tourism as well. With an average room rate of $85.00 the tax is about $2.55 per room a night.
- Statewide ballot issues have been examined in the past two Chamber monthly board meetings and will be center stage again in August as we see which of the 20 plus initiatives have turned in signatures. The board has voted to oppose a measure (Initiative 97) which would require 2500-foot setbacks for all oil and gas wells. The Chamber has consistently opposed this effort to effectively ban fracking in 75% of the state. We’ve also heard presentations on a sales tax measure to fund roads and a Farm Bureau backed measure to clarify what constitutes a “takings” for private landowners that requires compensation.
The Chamber will be hosting a candidate forum in September and publishing a voter’s guide in early October to help inform businesses and their employees about the candidates and the ballot issues so stay tuned . . we take our charge of being the business voice and representing your interests very seriously.