Juniper Bank announced it is opening a call center creating 450 new jobs in the Springs.

Intel’s additional few hundred employees for their clean room upgrade are nothing to sneeze at.

The Rocky Mountain News reported Saturday that “Northrop Grumman said the U.S Missile Defense Agency had awarded it a deal potentially worth $2.5 billion over 10 years to continue as the prime contractor at the missile defense war-gaming center” here in the Springs.

The Rocky also reported, “A top Northrop official said the contract – if it indeed reached the $2.5 billion mark could result in ‘substantial’ employment growth.”

At a recent Housing and Building Association informational breakfast, Dave Bamberger put some impressive numbers out there on Fort Carson.

On-going total annual impacts of Fort Carson after expansion:

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Employment – 52,600 including the troops

Employee Compensation – $2.0 billion

Proprietor’s income – $98.2 million

Gross business income – $1.9 billion

State and local tax revenue – $191.8 million

We have a lot going on in our area. I am quite happy that business is growing, but what is the bad business news?

Bad business news

The Rocky also had a story by Eugene Dilbeck who is the executive director of the Center for Travel and Tourism, Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

Dilbeck related the poor state of Colorado’s tourism industry. “Colorado’s tourism economy has been declining for the past decade with no reversal in sight.”

“For example, travelers in Colorado spent $7.1 billion in 1997. When adjusted for inflation, this would equal $8.2 billion in 2004 dollars. Thus, the 2004 traveler expenditures of $7.3 billion represent a deficit in net revenue when calculated in inflation-adjusted dollars,” he reported.

OK, math was not my best course in college but I ciphered this out to be a $900 million revenue loss from 1997 to 2004. Another point that Dilbeck brought out is that “as a whole the industry has been declining since Coloradoans defeated the tourism tax in 1993.”

Go figure, a tax bill getting defeated in Colorado. Wonder which group spun that one?

Dilbeck suggests four steps to reverse this decline:

Recruitment of a professional staff to manage the Colorado Tourism office.

Recognition that Colorado is in the tourism business and integration of its tourism assets and programs into statewide development and marketing programs.

Establishment of a tourism development master planning function within the Colorado Tourism Office

Adequate marketing investment to compete with other destinations.

These ideas make sense to me.

Now I obviously live here, so maybe I do not see the ads running in other states to come visit our great state but I do see ads for other states running here. Now I had never really considered taking my family to West Virginia for a vacation but after seeing an ad on television this past weekend on West Virginia that was put out by their tourism office it made me think.

West Virginia seems to have everything we have here. Mountains, lakes, warm fireplaces and good eats. Are we running ads for Colorado in West Virginia? I hope so.

How is the Colorado Tourism office going to pay for these ads to recruit vacationers who spend a ton of money in our state?

I say bring back the tourism tax. Yea, right. The idea that some investment be made in our state would seem to make sense, except to the anti-tax folks.

Back to all the business growth. Seems to me all these new jobs will have families coming to fill them.

As we reported last week, PPCC president Joe Garcia said “Pikes Peak Community College is one of the largest work force training and education centers and could lose as much as 68 percent of its state funding if voters do not approve Referendum C and D.”

How will our businesses flourish without higher education support? How will our businesses grow without affordable health care? How will I be able to afford sending my kids to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs or PPCC with astronomical tuition?

Vote yes on C and D, it is good for business.