Romer: Actually, we’re better together
We’ve all heard the saying “divide and conquer” at some point. It comes from the Latin “divide et impera,” or divide and rule. It has come to mean the breaking up of larger concentrations of power into independent parts which, individually, have less power than the one asserting the power.
Makes sense and sounds good on the surface. But it is pretty obvious that the saying comes from the perspective of the conqueror, not those being marginalized. The flip side of divide and conquer is the idea of working collaboratively. In reality, we are much more likely to have a meaningful impact and be successful by joining forces in a collaborative and cooperative manner to get things done. Real success comes by embracing the exact opposite of a divide and conquer mentality.
Joining forces to have a meaningful impact and be successful might be the most important thing that we can do across the region and the state to ensure that our state legislature continues to work on our collective behalf.
By working together we can hold our local and state governments accountable to carry out their roles for good public policy and to enhance the broad competitive business environment. Consider the most impactful issues to our community — and our local businesses — such as housing, health care, transportation, transit, early childhood, and workforce development. Only by working together — collaboratively — to advance issues these issues can we make a difference.
Vail Valley Partnership –—as part of our legislative strategy — works to support policy proposals that fit our vision of economic vitality and oppose measures that detract from our goals. We work with state coalitions and elected officials to help ensure proposals help maintain or enhance an environment conducive to business and a level playing field for businesses in the Vail Valley now and into the future. We work to provide the opportunity for competitive business practices regardless of the size or age of a business.
State legislation often brings proposed policy forth that would harm our economy here in Eagle County. Consider SB 20-109 (which has died in the state house) regarding a short-term rental property tax. On the surface, this might be appealing as this proposal would have taxed residential property as commercial property if it is rented more than 30 days in any calendar year. However, this would result in a dramatic shift in policy which could have a significant impact on second homeowners, the entire real estate industry, resort community short-term rental bed base, and affordable housing efforts across the state.
State legislation occasionally brings proposed policy that would be beneficial to our economy. SB 20-044 would have created a sales and use tax revenue for transportation resulting in 10 percent of net revenue from sales and use tax (the percentage attributable to sales or use of vehicles or related items) be credited to the Highway Users Tax Fund. This bill died in committee, which is unfortunate considering Colorado has significant infrastructure funding challenges.
Our local representatives (Rep. Dylan Roberts and Sen. Kerry Donovan) deserve credit as primary sponsors of HB 20-1003 which extends the Rural Jump-Start Zone Act and expands the type of entity that can apply and administer grants at the local level, and it refines the types of businesses which qualify.
Divide and conquer might have its place, but not when it comes to advocacy efforts. We are better together when working with local and state elected officials to ensure our businesses have a voice in helping to pass good legislation and to fight efforts that would place undue burdens on business.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.
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