Romer: Predictions for the 2020s
What predictions do you have for the next decade?
Most of the economic data has been upbeat for the past year. Some of the headwinds have subsided; specifically, trade policy with China has been advanced, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is finally moving forward, and Brexit and the impeachment proceedings are closer to being history. These macroeconomic issues help create certainly.
Locally, Colorado continues to enjoy manageable population growth, employment gains have increased as the year has progressed, and the state is on track to add 52,900 workers in 2019. Looking forward, there are some headwinds that are unique to Colorado; however, the current economic momentum should carry into the first quarter of 2020.
Indicators continue to look good and suggest the positive momentum will continue in the short term. Looking past the first quarter and past 2020, what are your predictions for the next decade? Here’s a few to ponder:
Prediction one: Local governments and special districts will continue to focus (and move the needle) on key livability factors facing our mountain community including housing, transit, broadband communications, and early childhood.
Prediction two: We will make noticeable progress on big picture issues such as housing, transportation, and health care, but this progress will be driven by local innovation rather than statewide or national efforts.
Prediction three: These local efforts could be offset by state and federal as state and federal officials will continue to look to place the funding burden on the small business community through taxes, fees, and mandates. Ultimately, increased regulations and taxes on businesses mean higher costs for everything we buy, including rent, groceries, gasoline, restaurants, prescriptions, clothing, daycare, health care and much more.
Prediction four: Predictions two and three will lead to Vail Valley Partnership members continuing to tell us that the most important work the chamber does is local and regional advocacy and representing the interests of business with government.
Prediction five: Colorado’s Front Range growth continues, and state population growth will continue to place stress on infrastructure including I-70. No statewide funding solutions will be successful.
Prediction six: With higher cost of living, advancement in technology, and proliferation of remote work, “satellite cities” will gain even greater importance and mountain communities including Eagle County will see an increase in location-neutral workers.
Prediction seven: Eagle County Regional Airport — thanks to the leadership of Eagle County and the EGE Air Alliance — will become more accessible and affordable to locals by adding new carriers and new markets, resulting in more competitive pricing for locals on a year-round basis.
Prediction eight: Workforce development programs (including the Partnership’s Vail Valley Works) will create a workforce talent pipeline with numerous options and pathways, supporting both our students and our current workforce in meaningful ways, leading to an increase in employee retention.
Prediction nine: The entrepreneurial support system in Eagle County will continue to solidify thanks to the Colorado Workforce Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and chamber of commerce groups focusing on providing tools, data, and connections to aspiring and new business owners.
Prediction 10: Our education system — Eagle County Schools and Colorado Mountain College — will continue to innovate and excel, providing opportunities for students to not just survive but to thrive.
Prediction 11: Eagle County will embark upon a visioning project that helps create a community-wide vision for the future; local towns will then create complimentary future plans, ensuring collaboration and cooperation among these entities continues.
Now, your turn. What are your predictions for the 2020s for Eagle County and Colorado?
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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