Posts tagged economy
Colorado business leaders’ optimism is modest going into the first quarter of 2013 with uncertainty surrounding the country’s political and economic environments, according to the most recent quarterly Leeds Business Confidence Index, or LBCI, released today by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
For the first quarter of 2013 the LBCI, conducted by the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, posted an overall confidence reading of 51.3, down slightly from 51.6 in the fourth quarter of 2012. A reading greater than the neutral mark of 50 indicates positive expectations and one less than 50 indicates negative expectations going forward
Business leaders are optimistic about all of the metrics of the quarterly index except for the national economy and industry hiring plans. The other categories measured include the state economy, industry sales, industry profits and capital expenditures.
“For months, drags on the national economy have included the European debt crisis, the slow rate of employment growth and the resolution of the federal debt crisis,” said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division. “While Colorado business leaders have stronger confidence in the local economy than the national economy, they’re proceeding very cautiously.”
Confidence in the state economy, which is at 55.5 points for the first quarter of 2013, outstrips that of the national economy, which posted a reading of 47. The outpacing of confidence in Colorado’s economy compared to the national economy is a 30-quarter trend, based on LBCI results.
Business leaders’ sales expectations for the first quarter rose to 54.4, up from 53.2 last quarter, and are buoyed by 44.1 percent of LBCI respondents who anticipate an increase in the first quarter versus only 25.2 percent who predict a decline. Meanwhile, leaders’ profit expectations fell to 51.6, down from 52.2 for the last quarter of 2012.
Hiring expectations have slipped into negative territory at 49.3, down from 51 in the last quarter of 2012, while capital expenditures remain close to neutral at 50.1.
Colorado will continue on the road to recovery and add a variety of jobs in 2013 across almost all business sectors following a positive year in 2012, according to economist Richard Wobbekind of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
Wobbekind’s announcement is part of the 48th annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum presented Dec. 3 by the Business Research Division of the Leeds School.
The comprehensive outlook for 2013 features forecasts and trends for 13 business sectors prepared by more than 100 key business, government and industry professionals.
“For the state, we see a very positive environment for 2013,” said Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division. “We’re seeing a wide array of jobs being added and they’re diversifying our state economy.”
Overall, the forecast calls for a gain of 42,100 jobs in 2013, compared with a gain of about 47,900 jobs this year. All sectors of the Colorado economy are predicted to grow in 2013 with the exception of the information sector, which includes publishing and telecommunications.
When comparing the Leeds School forecast to employment outlooks for other states, Colorado is expected to be in the top 10 states for job growth in 2013 and perhaps in the top six or seven, according to Wobbekind.
Even with positive job growth projected for the state, Wobbekind said uncertainty from national and international factors will play a role in slowing growth during the first and second quarters of 2013. More momentum will occur in the second half of the year.
“Resolution of the so-called fiscal cliff and the resolution of the European debt crisis will have impacts on the national economy and that will filter down to the state level,” said Wobbekind. “Once that uncertainty gets resolved, we then expect business investments to start flowing again and consumers to start making decisions based on a known environment. We think the recovery will be quite a bit smoother after that.”
The strongest sector for projected job growth in Colorado in 2013 is the educational and health services sector. The sector is expected to add 7,600 jobs in 2013.
In addition, other leading growth sectors for 2013 include the professional and business services sector with 7,400 jobs added and leisure and hospitality with 5,000 workers added, mostly in the areas of accommodation and food services.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector is the largest provider of jobs in Colorado. It includes everything from wholesale and retail trade to a variety of transportation features such as the Denver International Airport and gas pipelines, as well as utilities. The sector is expected to grow 1.4 percent in 2013 with the addition of 5,600 jobs.
The construction sector is expected to grow by 6,300 jobs in 2013 — up from a 2,800-job increase this year — and produce $12.6 billion in total value of construction. While the biggest surprise in the sector is the demand for infrastructure work, the number of new multifamily units built is a contributing factor to the increase, among others.
Commenting on the overall forecast, Wobbekind said, “It’s great to be giving positive news to people year after year. Confidence levels nationally are at their highest levels in five years. We’re really starting to see a lot more optimism on the part of the average person on the street about the future.”
Colorado’s unemployment rate is expected to decrease from 8 percent in 2012 to 7.4 percent in 2013, which is comparatively better than the national unemployment rate.
Colorado’s population grew by 1.4 percent, or 71,000 people, in 2012 and is projected to increase by 1.5 percent, or 77,500 people, in 2013. Roughly half of the increase will derive from net migration, or the increase of people moving to the state.
To view the entire economic outlook for Colorado in 2013, including an overview of each of the state’s major economic sectors, visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/BRD and click on the Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2013 icon.
Vote Obama – Government Oversight of Corporate Abuse Critical to Make Americans Safe
By Scott Hatfield
With serious differences on corporate and government accountability and the concentration of wealth and power at the very top, folks should be feeling compelled to vote for Obama. Here in Boulder, most people will vote and vote democratic. However, there are some compelling reasons to vote for Obama if you are a Green, moderate Republican, unmotivated, or middle of the road.
With Ruth Bader Ginsburg planning to retire in 2015, her replacement by a far right corporatist would have serious consequences for decades on a wide variety of issues. Whether it is a woman’s right to choose, global warming, campaign finance, toxic waste, voter intimidation and suppression, public lands extraction, public health, or civil liberties, cementing right wing control would be a blow to the rights of all Americans. With the appointments of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayer, the President has shown appropriate and reasonable judgment.
Government oversight and regulation of large powerful corporations plays a critical role in protecting the safety of the American people. For a wide variety of issues, the Republicans keep repeating that regulations are the problem. We need to act to prevent a corporate free for all. The top issue on regulations has been health care reform. Privatizing Medicare through a voucher system while removing oversight would raise premiums while unleashing corporate profits at the expense of the sick and wounded. Health care needs to be about healing people rather than absolving accountability for the powerful. The argument against Obamacare is the same as the argument against oversight of toxic material. With cancer overtaking heart disease as the nation’s top killer, the purpose of collusion between these disparate but connected industries reflects a self perpetuating cycle of disease as a top priority, not safety in the homeland. A lack of regard for corporate accountability pervades the Romney agenda across the board on environmental issues so important to Boulder and the quality of life everywhere be it water (#1 in CO), CO2, endangered species, public lands extraction, exploding chemical plants, or wilderness.
Most of the stated opposition to corporate accountability boils down to the economic burden on the rich and powerful corporate elite. This is especially glaring in the financial and economic sectors. For Romney, it is not a matter of the economy; it is a matter of whose economy. Republicans are all too happy to see larger and larger proportions of Americans living in poverty and despair. Again a complete lack of accountability is the mantra for the financial sector abuses that got us into this economic quagmire in the first place. Meaningful reform will not occur without oversight. Too many people have lost their homes, retirement funds, and jobs. The Wall Street giants have made their intentions clear. A regulatory regime on these bloated bankers is critical for an economy that provides a level playing field. We need a financial system capable of promoting the interests of a majority of Americans, not just those at the top. “Drill, baby, drill!’ will not get us out of the mess that Wall Street created, just ask the Frankenstorm Sandy.
Across the board, replacing any meaningful policy analysis with sound bites about burdensome regulations on large corporations will not solve our nation’s problems. If you want to get out of a hole, stop digging. While fighting multiple wars abroad under the guise of keeping the American people safe, the serious erosion of corporate responsibility at home on issues such as health care, toxic exposure and the environment, and the financial sector will do more to damage homeland safety than enemies abroad could ever hope for.
Scott Hatfield has been a member of the Central Committee of the Colorado Democratic Party and the Executive Committee of the Boulder Democratic Party since 1996.
Recommended city budget provides limited and targeted growth in 2013
On Sept. 11, Boulder City Council will begin considering a proposed 2013 budget that supports master plans accepted by council in 2012, restores partial funding for police and firefighter training, and continues funding for existing community programs and services.
City officials said that while the local economy is improving slowly, the city’s General Fund revenues will see only modest increases in 2013. As a result, City Manager Jane Brautigam recommends continuing the conservative approach initiated during the economic downturn; limited new funding will be allocated to programs supporting the highest community priorities next year, including economic vitality initiatives and significant investments in Boulder’s public facilities and infrastructure made possible by voters in November 2011.
The $256 million Recommended Budget includes $33 million in capital improvement plan spending – an increase of $10 million over 2012 levels.
“Boulder is in a stable financial position, and the conservative approach taken over the past few years has helped the city to become more efficient and effective with public dollars,” said Brautigam. “Our focus on cost recovery, restructuring city functions and not using one-time revenues to pay for on-going expenses has enabled Boulder to reduce the projected $135 million annual structural gap identified by the Blue Ribbon Commission in 2008 to $75 million annually by 2030.
“Boulder’s guiding principles of separating one-time revenues from ongoing expenditures also emphasizes the need to accurately project future one-time costs in order to carefully save over several years in preparation for those expenditures to avoid impacting Boulder’s base budget,” added Brautigam. “Because the city purposely saved for the future, we are prepared to pay as we go for planned one-time expenditures without negative impacts to the 2013 base budget.”
The recommended base budget reflects a 2 percent increase in base budget expenditures compared to the 2012 approved budget. Boulder saved an additional $16 million outside of that base budget to pay for one-time expenses that will be incurred next year. Most of that amount consists of funding for important transportation projects leveraged by the city using state and federal sources; a once every 11- to 12-year pay-period liability associated with Boulder’s biweekly pay system, and expenditures for Boulder’s Energy Future that are now included in the city’s budget document to reflect revenues approved by the voters in November 2011.
In addition to the continued long-term emphasis to stabilize revenues and expenditures, the Recommended Budget addresses community and council priorities with a major emphasis in the following areas:
- Restore non-personnel funding for police and firefighter training that was reduced during the economic downturn;
- Provide additional resources for Boulder’s Energy Future, the Civic Area Master Plan and adding a resource officer for homelessness initiatives;
- Carry out steps needed to implement master plans and department assessments, some of which began in the 2012 budget;
- Continue and strengthen the commitment to economic sustainability; and
- Boost the capacity of the city to renew its infrastructure and invest in technology.
The Recommended Budget provides for targeted growth in priority programs, adding one standard full-time equivalent (FTE) employee and 5.5 fixed-term FTEs in the General Fund to address these community initiatives.
Council is scheduled to begin studying the city manager’s 2013 recommended budget at its Tuesday, Sept. 11, study session. The study session will be aired live on Channel 8.
City Manager’s 2013 Recommended Budget is available online.
Analysis of election factors points to
Romney win, University of Colorado study says
A University of Colorado analysis of state-by-state factors leading to the Electoral College selection of every U.S. president since 1980 forecasts that the 2012 winner will be Mitt Romney.
The key is the economy, say political science professors Kenneth Bickers of CU-Boulder and Michael Berry of CU Denver. Their prediction model stresses economic data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including both state and national unemployment figures as well as changes in real per capita income, among other factors.
“Based on our forecasting model, it becomes clear that the president is in electoral trouble,” said Bickers, also director of the CU in DC Internship Program.
According to their analysis, President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.
“For the last eight presidential elections, this model has correctly predicted the winner,” said Berry. “The economy has seen some improvement since President Obama took office. What remains to be seen is whether voters will consider the economy in relative or absolute terms. If it’s the former, the president may receive credit for the economy’s trajectory and win a second term. In the latter case, Romney should pick up a number of states Obama won in 2008.”
Their model correctly predicted all elections since 1980, including two years when independent candidates ran strongly, 1980 and 1992. It also correctly predicted the outcome in 2000, when Al Gore received the most popular vote but George W. Bush won the election.
The study will be published this month in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association. It will be among about a dozen election prediction models, but one of only two to focus on the Electoral College.
While many forecast models are based on the popular vote, the Electoral College model developed by Bickers and Berry is the only one of its type to include more than one state-level measure of economic conditions.
In addition to state and national unemployment rates, the authors looked at per capita income, which indicates the extent to which people have more or less disposable income. Research shows that these two factors affect the major parties differently: Voters hold Democrats more responsible for unemployment rates while Republicans are held more responsible for per capita income.
Accordingly — and depending largely on which party is in the White House at the time — each factor can either help or hurt the major parties disproportionately.
Their results show that “the apparent advantage of being a Democratic candidate and holding the White House disappears when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6 percent,” Berry said. The results indicate, according to Bickers, “that the incumbency advantage enjoyed by President Obama, though statistically significant, is not great enough to offset high rates of unemployment currently experienced in many of the states.”
In an examination of other factors, the authors found that none of the following had any statistically significant effect on whether a state ultimately went for a particular candidate: The location of a party’s national convention; the home state of the vice president; or the partisanship of state governors.
In 2012, “What is striking about our state-level economic indicator forecast is the expectation that Obama will lose almost all of the states currently considered as swing states, including North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida,” Bickers said.
In Colorado, which went for Obama in 2008, the model predicts that Romney will receive 51.9 percent of the vote to Obama’s 48.1 percent, again with only the two major parties considered.
The authors also provided caveats. Factors they said may affect their prediction include the timeframe of the economic data used in the study and close tallies in certain states. The current data was taken five months in advance of the Nov. 6 election and they plan to update it with more current economic data in September. A second factor is that states very close to a 50-50 split may fall an unexpected direction.
“As scholars and pundits well know, each election has unique elements that could lead one or more states to behave in ways in a particular election that the model is unable to correctly predict,” Berry said.
Election prediction models “suggest that presidential elections are about big things and the stewardship of the national economy,” Bickers said. “It’s not about gaffes, political commercials or day-to-day campaign tactics. I find that heartening for our democracy.”
In an educational video entitled “Population, Consumption, and Climate: A Conversation with Al Bartlett,” the professor reprises themes from his notorious talk on population. Bartlett came to CU-Boulder in 1950 to join the Department of Physics. In the 1950s and today, he notes society and governments view steady growth as the centerpiece of the global economy.
“I got to thinking about the fact that people didn’t really understand the arithmetic of steady growth,” he said. “So I put together a talk. I first gave it in September of 1969 on the arithmetic of growth.”
Bartlett has since delivered that well-known lecture more than 1,700 times to audiences worldwide. He often cites an analogy of human population growth and multiplying bacteria. Using an animation that shows bacteria doubling over a fixed period of time, the video illustrates the arithmetic of steady growth and how quickly resources are depleted as growth continues.
“There will be limits,” cautions Bartlett.
The world population topped 7 billion in March 2012, according to the United States Census Bureau. Bartlett explains that despite the fact that population growth rates in developing countries may be 3-4 times higher than the U.S. rates, a significant problem with population resides in the United States because of high per capita demand for energy and resources.
“The average child born in the United States will have, over its lifetime, 10-20 times the impact on world resources as a child born in an underdeveloped nation,” he says. “So we’ve got to address the problem at home.”
In addition to the strain on the earth’s natural resources, excessive consumption contributes to climate change because resource extraction, manufacturing, and transportation produce a great deal of carbon dioxide. And, according to Bartlett, “if any fraction of global warming can be attributed to the actions of humans, that’s all the proof you need to say the human population today is greater than the carrying capacity of the earth.”
Population, Consumption, and Climate: A Conversation with Al Bartlett is part of a video series viewable at Learn More About Climate, produced by CU-Boulder’s Office for University Outreach and Landlocked Films.
The Learn More About Climate initiative brings climate change-related information to communities across the state.The website is an online outreach tool that localizes climate change through interviews with leading scientists and everyday Coloradans to explain how climate change is affecting our state. The site also offers resources for teachers, students, policy makers, and community members who want to learn more about this critical issue.
A protest of Bank of America, organized by the 99% movement, will be held around the U.S. and in Boulder Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. at Wells Fargo bank in Boulder, according to 99% organizers. The bank at 1242 Pearl St. will be targeted.
The organizers’ rationale is this: While Bank of America’s CEO and shareholders meet in Charlotte, NC, tomorrow, the 99% is taking to the streets across the nation to protest BofA. As the economy declined, BofA made millions in profits by dodging taxes and foreclosing on homes, which hit communities of color especially hard. Bad publicity is like kryptonite to big corporations—that’s why thousands of people are protesting, marching, and raising our voices in solidarity to draw the media’s attention to BofA’s shameless practices. Nearly 200 communities are standing up to Bank of America this week, and there’s one near you.>
Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. and accused of many of the same accusations that Bank of America faces.
For more info, email at email@example.com
The city council will vote THIS TUESDAY (April 17th) on a resolution from CU regarding their 4/20 enforcement effort.
I recommend attendance at the meeting. Friends of 4/20 (or political freedom) can sign up to speak online at bouldercolorado.gov
or in person at 5:oo pm on Tuesday at the Municipal Building, corner of Canyon and B’way in downtown Boulder.
You need to sign up early if you want to speak –
however, people can show support just by showing up at the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.
The City of Boulder, in a tough economy, has received enormous revenue from Boulder dispensaries and it shouldn’t be a stretch
to ask that they not condemn people who would like to see an end to marijuana prohibition.
If there are problems with marijuana use in Boulder, the police haven’t been able to identify them.
Meanwhile, there are reams of police reports for people taken to Boulder Community Hospital with alcohol poisoning, bar fights,
parties out of control — all related to alcohol use.
If there is some sort of “solution to the marijuana problem” needed, it’s not going to come from over-the-top law enforcement
strategies. I have personally attended more than a hundred city council meetings lifetime. Council does frequently respond to
political pressure from agencies like CU; however, they also sometimes listen to people who show up at their meetings.
There probably should be a reverse resolution against CU; however, I would just advocate the city council not
endorse this particular resolution, which flies in the face of common sense, as the 4/20 event might have had minor crowd
management issues at times, but nothing to merit a campaign of police ticketing and intimidation.
Rob Smoke is a columnist for Boulder Channel 1 news. He writes about city politics.
Perception and reality
Public universities such as ours are subject to public scrutiny. Even though the state of Colorado provides less than 6 percent of our budget, we have an obligation to be open and accountable to our students, alumni and citizens. The close examination that comes along with that obligation is fair.
The Boulder Chamber’s advocacy efforts never rest. We are constantly watching, analyzing and speaking up on your behalf to create a vibrant and supportive economic environment.
Stay up to date on city, county and regional policy discussions that impact your business. Bookmark this page for updates on top advocacy issues, follow us on Twitter @boulderadvocacy and subscribe to the monthly Boulder Business Insider e-Newsletter.
Questions? Contact Angelique Espinoza, Public Affairs Manger at (303) 938-2077.
Boulder Chamber Supports Extension of Wind Production Tax Credit
The Boulder Chamber is supporting the extention of the Wind Production Tax Credit. View our letters to Senators Bennet and Udall. Both Senators have delivered speeches on the floor in support of extending this important Colorado job driver.
Senator Bennet’s on the Wind PTC
Senator Udall’s on the Wind PTC
Boulder’s Energy Future
Chamber Engages on Behalf of Members on Next Steps in Boulder’s Energy Future As Xcel Energy files with the PUC regarding renewable energy and DSM Incentives, and the City convenes business energy users to craft an ongoing input process, the Chamber is engaging with both entities to ensure the needs of our members are represented at the table. If you have input on these, or other advocacy issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan. 23, 2012 – Law firm chosen to aid city in potential condemnation proceedings with Xcel Energy read more->
The Boulder Chamber will continue to be at the table as the City evaluates options for its energy supply. With the narrow passage of Ballot Items 2B and 2C, the City Council is empowered to pursue forming a municipal utility. The Chamber supports the City Manager’s committment to caution and meaningful stakeholder input in her Press Release following the election. On December 6th, the City held a rountable with the newly seated Council and staff outlined their near term plans for exploring the feasibility of acquiring the electrical power distribution system from Xcel and forming a municipal power utility. Plans include hiring an Executive Director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development, as well as additional legal and technical support staff. Staff also outlined three possible tiers for Boulder’s Energy Future, from ramping up current conservation and small renewable generation to full scall municipalization. Materials from the meeting are available on the City’s website. The Daily Camera provided this report.
Boulder Channel 1 news thinks the city and the Chamber should have worked out a deal with Xcel which would have led to a clean energy policy with Xcel. They city and chamber will now spend millions if not billions to operate this coal burning fossil.
Pinnacol Assurance Restructuring Proposal Delayed
The Board of Directors for Pinnacol Assurance announced jointly with Governor Hickenlooper that they would not pursue a restructuring proposal to privatize the state’s largest carrier of workers’ compensation insurance during the 2012 Colorado legislative session as previously intended. The Chamber has been following this issue closely since the Colorado businesses insured by Pinnacol have much at stake. Although a specially appointed Task Force spent several months reviewing and receiving input before reporting back the the Governor, many questions remain, such as how restructuring would impact service levels and rates, how to ensure availability of an insurer of last resort, and what happens to the policy holders’ dividends. It is likely that a proposal will come forward for the 2013 session after additional work. For more coverage on this issue, see Ed Sealover’s article in the Denver Business Journal.
State Legislative Update
sponsored by Jensen Public Affairs, Inc.
The opening days of the Colorado legislative session have seen the introduction of several important bills. The Boulder Chamber is currently prioritizing those with the greatest potential to impact the Boulder business community and developing a state legislative agenda for the 2012 session. Check back for ongoing reports on bills of interest to Boulder’s economy.
For the full list of bills under consideration see the following reports:
Bills of Interest->
2012 State Legislative Session Updates from Statewide Chambers:
Colorado Competitive Council (C3)
Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI)
Boulder Chamber Against PIPA/SOPA
The Boulder Chamber has been following the growing debate over H.R. 3261 the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and S. 968 Protect IP Act (PIPA).While these bills seek to address a real problem of online piracy, the methods used in these bills would undermine freedom of expression, and stifle innovation. Our future prosperity lies in our nation’s ability to remain competitive in the digital age.
The Boulder Valley is the Silicon Valley of the mountain west and the Boulder Chamber will work to defend our innovative economy and its entrepreneurs. To that end, we have asked Senator Bennet to reconsider his cosponorship of the bill. We thank Senator Udall for his opposition to PIPA, and Congressman Polis for his opposition to the House companion bill SOPA. We will follow the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) bill in the House as a way of better addressing the online piracy issue.
UPDATE: Senator Bennet withdrew as a co-sponsor on January 23rd. The Senate bill was pulled from its scheduled floor vote on the 24 and the House bill’s judiciary committee hearing has been postponed indefinitely. It’s likely these bills are dead for the 112th Congress. Thank you Senator!
Boulder Channel 1 news questions The Chamber wisdom here. The Boulder Anti sopa and anti PIPa crowd are largely criminal hackers who are under investigation by the FBI. The Chamber also heralds the questionable business practices of those involved.
Boulder City Council
The Boulder City Council identified their 2012 priorities at their annual retreat on January 20-21st. The Boulder Chamber hopes to work with this new Council to promote a strong regional economy, and sent this letter for Council’s consideration in advance of their retreat. coverage of the retreat suggests some promising common ground, but also reinforces the importance of the Chamber as an advocate for a strong local economy.
In order to identify areas of common interest between the Boulder business community and City Council, and to identify policy-based opportunities for our organization to better educate and advocate on behalf of our members, we have instituted a Boulder City Council Scorecard to track votes of interest.
City of Boulder Considers Transportation Maintenance Fee
On Tuesday, Jan 24, the Boulder City Council will have a Study Session on a potential Transportation Maintenance Fee (TMF). The Transportation Advisory Board (TAB)has identified an ongoing funding shortfall for Maintenance and Operations, as well as Transportation Enhancements for the City. Although last year’s successful Capital Improvements Project tax will provide one-time funding to address significant deferred maintenance projects, it does not address long-term transportation funding challenges. The TAB has recommended a TMF which would be collected on utility bills and would cost the average household $24 and the average employer $327 per year. We will be following this issue and providing input to the City Council as it moves forward. ->Read More
Highway 36 Commuting Solutions News
Increased Pricetag for Northwest Rail
After preliminary evaluations by BNSF Railway Company, the cost to complete the Northwest Rail from South Westminster Station to Longmont has increased from RTD’s 2011 estimate of $894.4 million to $1.4 billion. This is based on a 2020 completion date, although RTD expects schedule delays due to the significant cost increase of this line. Read full story->
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
Can you claim the Small Business health Care Tax Credit for 2011? If you are a small employer (business or tax-exempt) that provides health insurence coverage to your employees, follow these 3 simple steps to determine if you may qualify. view full website->
500 Year Floodplain Regulations: Critical Facilities and Mobile Populations Ordinance
How will the Critical Facilities Flooplain ordinance affect you? This ordinance impacts those who use, maintain, own or operate critical faciliites in the 100- or 500- year floodplain. To see if your facility is included, visit the The City of Boulder Flooplain map. If you are in the floodplain AND your business meets any of the facility types defined as essential service, hazardous materials, at-risk populations, or mobile populations, you may be required to meet new regulations. For definitions, the latest draft of the ordinance, information on scheduled meetings, and background information, visit the project website.
First reading of the ordinance WAS SCHEDULED FOR September 20 at 6 p.m.in the City Council Chambers, BUT HAS BEEN DELAYED. CHECK BACK FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Chamber Engages on Behalf of Members on Next Steps in Boulder’s Energy FutureAs Xcel Energy files with the PUC regarding renewable energy and DSM Incentives, and the City convenes business energy users to craft an ongoing input process, the Chamber is engaging with both entities. full story->
Clif Harald (Boulder Economic Council), Sean Maher (Downtown Boulder, Inc.), and Jud Valeski (Chamber Member-Gnip) testified before Council i
n support of a third story addition to the 1600 Pearl building, which will yield 18,309 square feet of much needed Class A Office Space. The building was approved by a 6 to 2 vote.
Boulder Channel 1 News feels this was a horrible mistake. This building is too tall as it is. It was protested when it was built for Borders Books in the 1990′s. It blocks the sun on Pearl ,obscures the view of the Mountains and it was rushed through council. Cliff Harold and Sean Maher should be drummed out of Boulder supporting this horrid decision.
Chamber Recieves Recognition at Annual 10 for Change Awards for being in the top ten for reducing overall GHG emissions in 2011.
Although I agree that there are “homeless” individuals in Boulder who might be regarded an eyesore,
“dangerous” when tangled with drug or alcohol abuse, the overall policies the city employs to “deal” with homelessness
are harmful to the entire community — wealthy homeowner, renter, student, or homeless person. It’s not a practical solution to the problem
of having homeless people present, to ask our law enforcers to chase them around and make sure they don’t sleep
in an inconvenient public spot.
Firstly, regardless of whether one imagines the local economy to be robust, or on the decline, or making a comeback –
statistics don’t lie: the numbers of homeless people in Boulder and in the Denver metro area continue to rise. As those numbers
have risen, the number of people on the margin has risen also — people who might be a paycheck or an unemployment check
away from being without shelter.
Asking law enforcers to “do more” — or, “clean up the problem” — is unfair. It’s unfair to the enforcers, it’s unfair to the community
of residents who see the problem growing and are paying for the enforcement strategy that continues to be a failure.
Is it a failure because law enforcement is not doing their job? No, that’s simply not the case — and in fact, it would be absurd
to negatively assess the police department for the job they are doing when people become homeless for a wide variety of reasons –
including injury or illness, job loss, or the entire variety of issues that homeless individuals have which include mental health issues
and substance abuse issues.
Peter Maurin, founder of the “Catholic Worker” movement, which established dozens of working community farms to feed the poor
in the 1930′s, wrote extensively in prose poem digest form of his belief that “What we give to the poor for Christ’s sake is what we carry with us
when we die.”
He wrote: “In the first centuries of Christianity, the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice,
the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans
used to say about the Christians, “See how they love each other.”"
He believed that if only we expand our understanding, shift our perspective, we might get what the Pagan Greeks understood –
that “the poor are “the ambassadors of the gods”, and that to become poor is to become an Ambassador of God.
It’s sad to see the Boulder city council sit around and discuss the merits of ”camping tickets” or other measures
designed to control the behavior of ”the unwanted”, whilst all possible helpful solutions are either postponed or ignored.
I say, let’s get it together and accomplish a set of basic goals related to homelessness in our area, a problem
that needs to be addressed directly with specific actions that include creating more low-cost housing and temporary solutions
that lower the level of personal risk for people who do become homeless, and also other projects — like farms created
in the “Catholic worker” model which helped to feed thousands of people in need.
It’s not about advocacy for the homeless, it’s about honoring the basic human rights of people who do find themselves in poverty.
Rob Smoke was the chairman of the Boulder City Council Human relations committee until he talked about “girls ” on his my space page. He is a columnist for Boulder Channel 1 news
Brazilian ‘Science Without Borders’
undergraduates study at CU-Boulder
100,000 Brazilian students, fully funded by Brazil’s booming economy, want to share knowledge
The University of Colorado Boulder welcomed 19 students from Brazil this semester as part of the new Science Without Borders Program and Brazil’s initiative to place and fully fund outstanding students abroad to supplement their studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
The students are among approximately 650 Brazilian undergraduates who have been selected to study on U.S. campuses with funding for their tuition, fees and housing from the Brazilian government’s Science Without Borders Program. The program, announced last year, provides scholarships to Brazilian undergraduate students for one year of study at one of more than 100 host colleges and universities, including CU-Boulder. Scholarships are given primarily to students in the STEM fields. After two semesters and an on- or off-campus internship, the students will return to Brazil to complete their degrees.
“Science Without Borders interested me because I wanted to know what it was like to study and live on campus and to learn in a different environment,” said Victor Sabioni, an aerospace engineering student from the Universidade de Federal de minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte. “I am taking two classes that are not offered at home, and everything is great so far.
“The campus is amazingly beautiful and everyone has been so welcoming and polite. CU couldn’t be better. It’s like heaven with homework.”
The Science Without Borders Program at CU-Boulder is offered through a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Division of Continuing Education.
“The students are studying with their peers, living in university housing and experiencing life in Colorado and the U.S.,” said Anne Heinz, dean of Continuing Education and associate vice chancellor for outreach and engagement. “Several of the students already have indicated an interest in returning to CU-Boulder for graduate school.
“CU-Boulder students, whether they’re from the San Luis Valley, San Francisco or São Paulo, will benefit from the enriched classroom conversations and experiences enabled by these programs,” she said. “These collaborations foster our future as a global society, and we look forward to CU-Boulder’s continued participation in this program.”
An additional cohort of students is scheduled to arrive later this year for programs beginning in the summer and fall.
The Science Without Borders Program is part of a larger Brazilian government initiative to grant 100,000 scholarships to Brazil’s best students to study abroad at the world’s best universities. The program is sponsored by the scholarship foundation of Brazil’s Ministry of Education, Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior. The program is administered by the Institute of International Education, an independent nonprofit specializing in international exchange. The institute has been working closely with the ministry and with CU-Boulder and other U.S. universities to place the students in study programs that best meet their academic needs.
“We are pleased to be partnering with the government of Brazil and with the U.S. host campuses to implement this important program,” said Allan E. Goodman, Institute of International Education president and CEO. “At a time when Brazil’s economy is expanding rapidly, and Brazil and the United States are forging unprecedented ties in trade, energy and scientific development, we look to higher education as another area where our two countries should seek much stronger cooperation.”
2012 Market Outlook. This report reveals LPL’s opinion of what investors can expect in the coming year and suggests how to best position a portfolio to seek profit from the opportunities and protect from the risks. In summary, LPL’s Market Strategists’ believe that:
• The U.S. economy will grow about 2%, while emerging markets post stronger growth and Europe experiences a mild recession.
• The U.S. stock market is likely to post an 8 – 12%* gain, supported by a slight improvement in valuations and mid-to-high single-digit earnings growth.
• Corporate bonds post modest single-digit gains as interest rates rise and credit spreads narrow. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is likely to end the year around 3%.
*LPL Financial Research provided this range based on its earnings per share growth estimate for 2012, and a modest expansion in the price-to-earnings ratio. Additional explanation can be found throughout the 2012 Outlook publication.
I personally believe the markets are poised for positive performance this year. In fact, recent US economic data suggests equity markets are priced as cheaply as they have been in decades, even if there is a 15% decline in earnings. However, the big issues, and my reasons for staying cautious this year, include how deep the European recession turns out to be and what kind of growth impact the discussions and decisions (or lack thereof) about our country’s looming deficit will have during this election year. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Tanya R. Mathews, CFP ®
Meridian Wealth Management Boulder
City Manager approves business incentive for Eetrex
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam has approved a flexible rebate application for Boulder-based Eetrex Incorporated, for up to $26,000 in rebates. The rebates were authorized for sales and use taxes, and permit-related fees.
The flexible rebate program is one of the city’s business incentives, covering a wide range of fees, equipment and construction use taxes. Under this program, the city manager may consider a specific incentive package for tax and fee rebates to meet a company’s specific needs. The company is then eligible for the rebate after it has made its investment and paid the taxes or fees to the city.
“Eetrex is part of the new energy economy and is leading innovation in power electronics and battery systems,” Brautigam said. “The city is pleased that its incentives are helping Eetrex grow and stay in Boulder.”
Eetrex develops power electronics and battery systems for the electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, telecommunications, and computing industries. The company is also the leading developer of on-vehicle inverter-chargers, known as Invergers™. Its battery systems are being used in demonstration projects to show how they can effectively store energy from wind and solar generation to offset peak loads and utilize clean energy more effectively. In 2006, Eetrex was founded in Boulder and moved into a larger 9,700 square-foot space at 4900 Pearl East Circle, Suite 110, in June 2011.
Kathryn Miles, president of Eetrex, said, “Eetrex is committed to supporting the community and establishing our business as an environmentally conscious company. Not only is our technology helping to green the transportation industry and support alternative energy, but we also encourage employees to ride their bicycles to work along with our zero waste practices. We are very pleased to receive this award in recognition of our efforts.”
The flexible rebate program uses social, community, and environmental sustainability guidelines. Companies choose the guidelines that best fit their circumstances, but must meet minimum requirements in order to receive the rebate. Eetrex has exceeded the minimum requirements of the community sustainability guidelines. Of note, Eetrex is implementing a zero waste policy through Green Girl Recycling and is a member of the 10 for Change challenge, which included an energy audit of its facility. The company also will request an EnergySmart training through the city’s Local Environmental Action Division.
Eetrex’s flexible rebate application is one of six submitted to the city in late 2011. Four 2011 applications are pending. The city’s approved 2012 budget includes $350,000 in funding for 2012 flexible tax and fee rebates for primary employers.
For more information about the city’s economic vitality program, go to www.bouldercolorado.gov, click on “Business,” or call Liz Hanson at 303-441-3287.
SLOW, STEADY JOB GROWTH FORECAST FOR COLORADO
IN 2012, SAYS CU LEEDS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Colorado will continue on the road to recovery and add jobs in 2012 following a positive year in 2011, according to economist Richard Wobbekind of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
Wobbekind’s announcement was part of the 47th annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum presented Dec. 5 by CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
Compiled by the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, the comprehensive outlook for 2012 features forecasts and trends for 13 business sectors prepared by approximately 100 key business, government and industry professionals.
“In 2012 we’re predicting slow but steady growth for Colorado, much like the U.S. economy,” said Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division. “We’ll continue to add jobs in a wide array of sectors, but not at the dramatic rate that is necessary to significantly lower the unemployment rate.”
Overall, the forecast calls for a gain of 23,000 jobs in 2012, compared with a gain of 27,500 jobs this year. Most sectors of the Colorado economy are predicted to grow in 2012, including the addition of 2,900 jobs in construction, marking the first positive job growth in that troubled sector in four years.
When comparing the Leeds’ forecast to forecasts for other states, Colorado is expected to be in the top 10 states for job growth in 2012.
“The broader story here is Colorado entered the recession later, came out of the recession later and now appears to be accelerating past the rest of the country in terms of job growth and recovery,” Wobbekind said.
Even with positive job growth predicted for the state, Wobbekind said uncertainty at numerous levels still clouds the economic picture in the state and nation.
“The theme of almost every national forecast is uncertainty,” he said. “Every day there is a new event in Europe or a new event in Washington. So you continue to have all of these elements of uncertainty and they impact consumer confidence and household spending. That is something that is very hard to forecast or predict.”
The strongest sector for projected job growth in Colorado in 2012 is the educational and health services sector. The sector is expected to add 7,500 jobs in 2012.
On the agriculture side, Colorado farmers and ranchers are coming off what is expected to be a record-setting year for net farm income. Colorado’s agricultural producers benefited from unexpectedly strong market prices for livestock and crops in 2011, leading to an estimated record net farm income in the state of $1.7 billion. Historic drought in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas spared much of Colorado in 2011, leading to increased market prices for Colorado agricultural products.
“Mother Nature played a major part in this, and this year it played in our favor,” Wobbekind said, adding that Colorado agriculturalists also are expected to do well in 2012.
The manufacturing sector, after adding jobs in 2011 for the first time since 2003, will return to a long-term downward trend and is forecast to lose 1,900 jobs. Two other sectors expected to lose jobs are information, forecast to shed 500 jobs, and financial activities, losing 1,000 jobs.
In 2011, Colorado consumers spent more on goods and services, with retail sales increasing 6.5 percent for the year. In 2012, retail sales are forecast to remain relatively strong with a gain of 4 percent.
“We view the consumer as coming back to the table,” Wobbekind said. “Consumers have deferred a lot, including what we would call more necessary expenditures such as automobiles and other essential products that have been wearing out and need to be replaced.”
With 2011 coming to a close, Wobbekind said Colorado’s economy is ending the year on a positive note.
“We went into the year a little bit slow and then built up momentum for pretty much the entire year, and the last couple of months we’ve passed the national growth rate for jobs, and we’ll end the year above the national growth rate for jobs,” he said. “2011 was a decent year in which we added jobs in a fairly wide variety of sectors.”
Colorado’s unemployment rate for 2012 is expected to decrease from 8.7 percent at the end of 2011 to 8.4 percent, compared with a projected national unemployment rate of around 9 percent.
Colorado’s population is projected to grow 1.5 percent, or 75,900 people, in 2012.
To view the entire economic outlook for Colorado in 2012, including an overview of each of the state’s major economic sectors, visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/BRD and click on the Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2012 icon