As I was thinking about what to write for this Chairman Column it hit me between the eyes…the year is HALF OVER! Heck, soon it will be time to pick the theme for the 2020 Annual Banquet! It might also be time to take a look back at where we’ve come in the past six months as a Chamber serving you.
The biggest priority for the Chamber board when we did our annual planning was showing value for your membership. For those of you who take advantage of our many networking events and leads group, it may be very visible. But for others, it may not be so apparent, so I’d like to review just a few of our activities that benefited you.
The sales tax rules that have made many retailers bald due to pulling their hair out are still out there but the Chamber worked hard this spring with other business groups and state lawmakers to try and mitigate the problems with taxing customers where they live (known as the destination sourcing rule). For those retailers who ship less than $100,000 of taxable goods, there is some relief in that you can tax everything based on your location until the state develops a searchable database you can use. Those who ship more are still required to comply as of June 1st which is problematic with over 700 taxing jurisdictions in the state. Besides advocating for some sort of solution I am proud of the fact that we were able to at least provide you with information and keep you up to date as to developments throughout the legislative session.
The Grand Junction Air Service Alliance is literally taking flight this year after the Chamber advocated strongly for an increase in the lodging tax last fall to help enhance commercial air service. In collaboration with our partners, residents and businesses in 2019 have seen a direct flight to Chicago and a direct flight to Mesa, AZ added to our schedule and even a small decrease in ticket prices. Diane provides administrative support to the Alliance which has committed to matching a Small Communities Air Service Development Grant if awarded this fall to incentivize direct flights to the West Coast, specifically San Francisco. All of us who fly will benefit from the efforts of this group in the future.
On the local level, the City of Grand Junction and the 521 Drainage Authority are both looking at raising or implementing new fees as usual, the business community bears the brunt of such actions. That is why I am thankful that Board Member Ivan Geer and CEO Diane Schwenke are at the table for these discussions and working toward a balance of meeting our infrastructure needs without stifling needed growth in housing and commercial development.
There is much more than this that has transpired in the past 182 days and we usually get a staff report that spans several pages each month. To view a quick infographic of how we’ve been working for you in Q2 look to page 4 in this newsletter. Please know that our board is still very committed to showing value and if you have additional ideas on how we can do that please let a board or staff member know. We value you and we hope you value us. Enjoy your summer!
Click here to download the full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce July 2019 Newsletter.