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Concerns about job losses, foreclosures, and the “ratchet down” effect of TABOR on municipal budgets, are negatives for the southern Colorado economy, according to two UCCS faculty members.
But the prospect of an estimated 10,000 more troops stationed at Fort Carson in 2009, as well as the return of currently deployed troops, could make 2009 a turnaround year for the local economy, say Tom Zwirlein, professor, Business, and Fred Crowley, associate research professor, Business. Zwirlein and Crowley direct the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, the region’s leading economic analysis.
Beginning at 7 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Antlers Hilton Hotel, 4 South Cascade Ave., Zwirlein and Crowley will share data collected during the past year, as well as predictions for the future, as part of the Twelfth Annual Southern Colorado Economic Forum. Sponsored by the university and its College of Business in cooperation with several local businesses, the forum is expected to draw more than 800 business and community leaders anxious to hear predictions for the future and to learn how local economic policy can be shaped.
Last year, El Paso County gained 288 jobs while continuing a downward trend of employment in manufacturing and telecommunications, Zwirlein said. Since 2001, almost 15,000 jobs representing $817 million has been lost from the local economy in the manufacturing and telecommunications sectors.
“The local employment base shifted to an economy that is less dependent on a limited number of large, well-paying employers to an economy that is increasingly dependent on small firms,” Zwirlein said. “The advantage of small firms is the economy tends to be more stable. But this lower volatility appears to be accompanied by lower wage levels.”
As a result of lower incomes, local governments will collect less taxes. Lower collections, combined with a resetting of base budgets – the so-called “ratchet down” effect of TABOR – will result in declining city and county government services.
On the positive side, Zwirlein and Crowley believe home foreclosures will be reduced in 2009 and spurred by additional troops in the area, single family home construction will be substantially higher.
The presentation of data is one component of the forum. A panel of experts that includes CU President Bruce Benson, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and El Pomar Foundation President Bill Hybl will discuss the importance of creating public-private partnerships in the Pikes Peak region. Another session will feature Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy and business and legal experts discussing Colorado tax policy.
Registration for the conference is $75.
Spaces must be reserved by Oct. 4.
For more information, visit www.SouthernColoradoEconomicForum.com.
“...the forum is expected to draw more than 800 business and community leaders anxious to hear predictions for the future and to learn how local economic policy can be shaped.”
"...Zwirlein and Crowley believe home foreclosures will be reduced in 2009 and spurred by additional troops in the area..."
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