TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) and potential TABOR refunds is the subject of the Tuesday, April 28 meeting of the Chamber’s Business Leaders for Responsible Government (BLRG) committee. This is their second monthly meeting and will be held from 7:30 am – 9:00 am. All members of the South Metro Denver Chamber are welcome to attend. For insight into TABOR and how your personal tax dollars are spent, click here to go to the Colorado Taxpayer Receipt tool.
Speakers will encompass several viewpoints on the controversial amendment, and will include:
Former Colorado Representative Todd Saliman will begin the program by providing a brief explanation of TABOR and its history in Colorado, as well as insight into current TABOR-related issues, including potential refunds. Todd serves the University of Colorado as the vice president of budget and finance and chief financial officer for the CU System. He is a former Colorado legislator and former director of the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting under Governor Bill Ritter.
Former Colorado House speaker Frank McNulty will provide the second presentation with his perspective on TABOR based on his experience in the Colorado House of Representatives, including the challenges this amendment creates within the legislature.
Last, former Colorado Senator Norma Anderson will provide information regarding pending TABOR litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court in which she is involved, as well as her perspective on the limitations created by the amendment.
This TABOR meeting’s presentations have been coordinated by Michael Sutherland and David Bear, both active members of the BLRG Steering Committee who have been instrumental in procuring the speakers for this event.
Background: TABOR refers to a 1992 Colorado Constitutional amendment that restricts revenues for all levels of government (state, local and schools). Under TABOR, state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval and cannot spend revenues collected under existing tax rates without voter approval if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth. Revenue in excess of the TABOR limit, commonly referred to as the
"TABOR surplus", must be refunded to taxpayers, unless voters approve a revenue change as an offset in a referendum.
An easy and informative advocacy opportunity that directly contributes to our Tabor conversation on April 28 was published this morning in the Denver Business Journal:
"The Colorado Office of State Planning and Budgeting is hoping a new tool will give taxpayers some insight into [how exactly is your own tax payment being used].
The online tool, called the Taxpayer Receipt tool, generates a breakdown of where individuals' tax dollars go based on their age, annual income and how much they drive. It is part of an interactive website called Balancing Act, launched last week in Colorado to give citizens an interactive way to find out where their tax money goes.
Once the numbers are plugged in, the tool shows a breakdown of the way their tax dollars are spread across 30 categories, which include K-12 and higher education, courts, environmental resources, public safety, transportation, even TABOR refund."
After completion, it also links you to another page where you can recommend each budget be raised or lowered, and advocate for increases or decreases in taxes. According to the site, your submissions will be related to the legislature. For those interested in easy business advocacy opportunities, this is a great opportunity to make your voice heard within the Colorado State Legislature. For more information visit http://co.abalancingact.com/taxreceipt
This year’s Real Estate Impact Breakfast (May 8th 7-9 am, Hyatt Regency DTC, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO 80237) features a dynamic panel of experts in development, demographics, architecture and economics. Panelists will explore how changing demographics are transforming the way we live, work and play in Colorado. A panel of three, includes Elizabeth Garner, Colorado State Demographer, Mickey Zeppelin, Founder of Zeppelin Development, and Steve Murray, Editor of REAL Trends and President of REAL Trends Consulting Inc. will be moderated by Sueann Ambron, Dean of CU Denver Business School. For more information and to register for the Real Estate Impact Breakfast visit Regonline.com/RealEstate15
Sueann R. Ambron
CU Denver Business School
Since her appointment as dean in 2000, Sueann R. Ambron has integrated the Business School into the fabric of the region’s business community. Executives from across the Rocky Mountain West actively participate in advisory boards, mentor students and provide opportunities for student interns to gain work experience before they graduate. Under the dean’s leadership, the Business School has worked with industry executives to develop innovative programs for health, global energy, entrepreneurship, sports management and sustainability. Today, the Business School is the largest accredited graduate school of business in the Rocky Mountain West—with more than 2,600 students—and a steady source of top workforce talent for the entire region.
Before joining the Business School, Dean Ambron gained international experience with Motorola as the general manager of the multimedia division. At Paramount and Viacom, she pioneered work in multimedia with such brands as Star Trek and MTV. Dean Ambron founded the Apple Multimedia lab that developed the first motion-picture and music prototypes integrating digital media. As the person who coined the term “multimedia” at Apple Computer, Ambron was named “Mother of Multimedia” by Wired magazine. Before joining the software industry, she served on the faculty of Stanford University. Dr. Ambron earned her Ed.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Community involvement is a passion and priority for Dean Ambron, starting with her assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica. While at the Head Start Program in Washington, she evaluated Head Start programs across the country. Dean Ambron currently serves on the board of advisors for the Downtown Denver Partnership and was on the steering committee for the Denver Area Plan that is creating a 20-year vision for the city.
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Elizabeth Garner is the State Demographer and joined the Colorado Department of Local Affairs in 2004. The State Demography Office produces population and economic estimates and forecast for use by state agencies and local governments. Current areas of research include aging in Colorado, characteristics of migration, and poverty. Elizabeth is an economist by training and prior to working with the state she worked for 10 years with CSU Cooperative Extension managing a data center and producing economic and demographic impact reports. She received her B.A. in Business at the University of San Diego, her masters in Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University and is a PhD candidate for the same program. Elizabeth is a Denver native.
Mickey Zeppelin was born in Denver in March 1937 to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland. In his youth, he witnessed a world depression and World War II. At the time, Denver’s public transportation was primarily street cars and its building height limit was 75 feet. Mickey attended Denver Public Schools and graduated from the University of Colorado and earned a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a member of the Colorado and California bars.
Mickey was married and blessed with four children. After law school and a brief interlude in the US Coast Guard, he was actively engaged in the practice of law until 1972, when he entered fulltime in real estate development. Initial projects were varied in type and location. In the 1980’s, Zeppelin Development was founded with the primary purpose to develop strong urban projects in Denver that are dynamic and encourage development. This means new and unique reappointed places for living, working and play. The vision is to create environments with limited potential into places of opportunity that are visually stimulating, dynamic and communal.
Mickey’s projects strive to make Denver work as a real city. One of his primary professional goals is to create community in a dynamic urban area, encouraging all types of human exchange. He is passionate about creating communities – how to plan them, how to create places which promotes communication, provides a sense of freedom for people and makes life fun. It means using all of his senses and his mind…to place the pieces of an area, to create beauty with architecture, design, understanding living patterns and needs.
Mickey has contributed to the evolution of Denver, serving on the steering committees for Downtown Denver, Central Platte Valley, Lower Downtown, the Golden Triangle and River North (aka “RiNo”). He cofounded and was the first president of the Lower Downtown District and served on the boards of the 16th Street Mall Management and Business Improvement Districts. He has received numerous awards for his civic leadership as well as for the quality of his developments.
Art and design have always been a critical part of Zeppelin Development’s process. The major artistic influence is Mickey’s partner, Susan Wick. Together, they created the City Spirit Bookstore and Café, a long time lower downtown icon, and the Acoma Center, one of the first performance centers in the Golden Triangle (now Curious Theatre).
President & Editor
REAL Trends Consulting Inc.
Steve Murray is the president and co-founder of REAL Trends, the nation’s leading trends and research organization and president of REAL Trends Consulting Inc. He has been in the residential real estate field for 37 years.
REAL Trends is read by more than 54,000 leaders in the residential realty industry every week and over 500 CEO’s attend REAL Trends conferences each year. REAL Trends has been a leader in industry and housing consumer research for the past 28 years. Such reports as the REAL Trends 500, the 2006 Consumer Tsunami Study and the Wall Street Journal/REAL Trends Thousand ranking of the nation’s top sales professionals are examples of REAL Trends research.
He is the co-author of four books on the valuation of residential real estate brokerage firms, co-authored the 2011 book “Game Plan” about the past and future of residential brokerage and co-authored the 2014 book, Game Changers – The Unfounded Fears and Future Prosperity of the Residential Real Estate Business.
REAL Trends Consulting has handled over 2,250 client assignments for realty firms over the past 28 years, with over 660 merger and acquisition assignments, totaling $11.8 billion in aggregate value. Murray has served dozens of state and local Realtor® associations and MLS organizations in a consulting capacity and several large technology firms serving the residential real estate field.
For more information and to register for the Real Estate Impact Breakfast visit Regonline.com/RealEstate15
By Bill Stemper, President, Comcast Business
One of the most important benefits of our transactions with Time Warner Cable and Charter will be providing our services to more businesses and the introduction of increased competition among communications companies, resulting in innovation and cutting edge products and services.
These benefits are real and quantifiable. For example, the combined reach of the Comcast and TWC networks bring many benefits to enterprise customers – including the ability to link multiple offices spread across major markets like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Boston, or Philadelphia. In total, we expect to generate almost $8 billion in price reductions due to our competitive entry in the enterprise business segment through the TWC transaction.
Nearly 600 thoughtful and positive comments from a wide range of supporters – including business organizations, businesses, programmers, diversity groups and community partners, academics and public policy leaders, and state and local leaders – have been submitted to the FCC about our proposed transaction, in large part because of the increased investment, innovation, and competition it will generate.
In Texas, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce stated that the "businesses and consumers of Fort Worth would benefit from access to these top-of-the-line services, and by approving the proposed transaction, the FCC could allow Fort Worth to catch up to current Comcast markets."
In Chicago, a technology incubator called 1871 is expanding to accommodate more than the 250 small companies it currently serves. Its clients demand industry-leading Internet speed and stability, so their CEO wrote to the FCC and said that fortunately, Comcast "has provided critical services to keep work and innovation flowing."
In San Francisco, a tech firm called Nextdoor focuses on creating local social networks to improve community safety and relationships. Nextdoor’s CEO and Co-Founder explained that, "Comcast has proven to be a leading innovator in its industry and a strong and steady partner to startups like ours."
And small, local businesses like Ron Bill Auto Body in Monessen, Pennsylvania have found themselves supporting the transaction, based on the seamless service they have experienced in comparison with other options. After many frustrations with his previous Internet service provider, "I switched to Comcast Business," Ron Bill writes. "Since then, Comcast has delivered superior services that are faster, more reliable, and more secure than those provided by my previous provider."
These types of small- and medium-sized businesses are the job-creating heartbeat of the American economy, and based on their experience with Comcast, these entrepreneurs know that together with TWC, Comcast will be able to offer these benefits to even more businesses throughout America.
Since launching Comcast Business in 2006, we have been a disruptor in the business services market by bringing an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative products to business customers of all sizes. But, in 2013, Comcast and TWC had a combined share of only about 10-15 percent of the market for small- and medium-sized businesses. We’re committed to helping businesses of all sizes and types succeed and grow with our TWC transaction.
Small businesses will see faster Internet speeds to tackle the data-intensive activities like video conferencing with partners and prospective clients, running a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, or developing and testing new applications in the cloud. Our groundbreaking [email protected] service will bring enterprise-grade Ethernet capabilities to small businesses in TWC markets that work with sensitive data and want to extend private links to that data to employees at home. Small, private financial services firms or healthcare organizations will have a solution for providing great customer service to clients and patients wherever they need it.
We will also offer TWC customers the fastest Wi-Fi with the most range. Research has shown how important Wi-Fi is to small businesses – in a 2014 survey of more than 600 small business IT decision makers, 65 percent reported that offering Wi-Fi encouraged repeat business, and 55 percent said it brings in new customers. The same survey indicates that 93 percent of these small businesses believe providing Wi-Fi enhances employee productivity.
In response to these trends, we have unveiled the Comcast Business Wireless Gateway, which provides both private and public Wi-Fi – from a single device – while using separate networks for added security. This is a great way for small businesses to deliver private Wi-Fi for their employees while separately offering public Wi-Fi to their customers.
In addition to better Internet and Wi-Fi, we will offer enhanced phone services throughout TWC territories, with "be anywhere" call features and a cutting-edge mobile app, to help businesses be more efficient. Mobility-focused phone service can help small businesses that are trying to cover more ground every day. For example, Pfeifer Industries, a Chicago-area manufacturer of timing belt pulleys, is a 10-employee small business with customers across the U.S. They rely on inbound calls to generate sales and provide customer support. Pfeifer uses Comcast Business VoiceEdge, a cloud-based phone system, to make sure that employees don’t miss a call from customers even if they are away from their desk.
With this transaction, our combined networks will also help small businesses take that next step in their growth plans using a combined network footprint and a more seamless experience from a single service provider with 24/7/365 support and unified billing. We hope to make it easier for a small, Los Angeles-based law firm to open a second office in Washington, D.C., or a tech startup in Austin to establish a presence in San Francisco, or a chef-owner in Manhattan to open a new restaurant in Philadelphia or Boston.
Robert Irvine, the celebrity chef, restauranteur, and small business advisor, has said that the restaurant industry needs to change as technology evolves, and that technology is a competitive differentiator, allowing businesses to track inventory, accept online reservations and offer high-speed Internet to patrons. "The restaurant industry has been set in its ways for a long time, but this ‘old school’ mentality has to change if restaurant owners want to be successful in a technology-focused world," Irvine commented. Products like faster Internet and Wi-Fi and innovative phone service, combined with a more seamless support from a single provider could be a huge boost to restaurants in competitive culinary hubs like New York and Los Angeles that are looking to grow.
Our view is that technology helps smaller businesses compete better with larger firms and is an engine for business growth. Many companies have gone on the record to voice their support for this transaction, and once it closes, Comcast will offer more advanced and innovative products to business customers throughout the combined footprint with greater scale – and that means operational efficiencies to better serve our business customers both large and small.
Oil and gas development continues to be a major issue in Colorado, especially after Governor John Hickenlooper’s energy task force approved nine new recommendations for energy development in Colorado. We want to let you know about an organization that we partner with called Vital for Colorado.
It’s a broad coalition of more than 35,000 businesses, civic leaders, trade associations and Colorado residents from across the state that have banded together to voice support for the oil and gas industry. Our President and CEO, Bob Golden, is a member of Vital’s Board of Directors. We’d invite you to read Vital’s 2014 Annual Report and, if you haven’t already, to review their Pro-Energy Pledge and sign it today.
Vital for Colorado is promoting a “Seven Principles” pledge document that shows support for Colorado’s longstanding history of responsible oil and gas development in the state.
As a group, Vital for Colorado is committed to making sure Colorado continues to thrive, and now would like to encourage you as an individual business leader or company, to join them in assembling more support by signing the attached pledge.
By signing onto the attached “Seven Principles” pledge, you will be joining a statewide coalition of economic development groups, chambers of commerce, non-profit organizations and hundreds of small businesses that are standing up for this industry. Please join us on this effort. Review the Pro-Energy Pledge here.
Vital for Colorado is a broad coalition of business, civic and economic development leaders along with thousands of Coloradans from across the state. Its mission is to support and promote the benefits of energy production in Colorado, highlight energy resource extraction as a critical part of Colorado’s state economy, and support a rational, well-regulated, and competitive regulatory environment which allows energy production in the state to thrive responsibly.
For more information about Vital for Colorado, visit the website, vitalforcolorado.com
It is officially spring and that mean more time outside! Spend your free time doing what you love – strengthen your body, engage your mind, and refresh your spirit. At South Suburban Parks and Recreation, you can do it all.
Whether you want to engage in your favorite activities or try something new, South Suburban Parks and Recreation offers a range of experiences, so you can seize life and live it to the fullest. Go ahead. Explore. Enjoy.
This month South Suburban Parks and Recreation is offering “Prune your Gardening Skills at Rose Pruning Workshop at South Suburban’s War Memorial Rose Garden"Pruning roses can be a thorny problem. Learn how to safely and properly care for roses by joining South Suburban Parks and Recreation’s horticulturist, along with help from area master gardeners and members of the Denver Rose Society, at a free rose pruning workshop on Sat., April 25, from 8 am to 12 pm at South Suburban’s War Memorial Rose Garden in Littleton.
Bring a sharp pair of bypass pruning shears and leather gloves for this hands-on training event. Knee pads are helpful. Light refreshments will be served as well as an opportunity to win door prizes related to gardening.
To register for the workshop, contact Larry Hurd, South Suburban horticulturist at 303-721-8478 or [email protected] The War Memorial Rose Garden is located at 5804 S. Bemis St., Littleton, across the street from Sterne Park. In case of inclement weather, the alternate date is May 2.
The War Memorial Rose Garden is dedicated to veterans who have served in any of America’s wars, and is one of only two All-America Rose Select designations within the State of Colorado. It features more than 1800 varieties of roses. What better place to learn how to care for our national flower. Preview the new interactive rose garden map http://arcg.is/1D2AbWs.
For more information and to check out other fun activities visit, www.ssprd.org