One thing the annual Leadership Foundation Leadership Exchange trip does is causes you to reflect on Colorado and this region. This year, more than 150 civic leaders from Denver traveled to Portland, Oregon to meet with our counterparts to share best practices and learn from each other.
As with every trip we have taken with the Leadership Foundation, this one provided a new level of insight into Colorado’s own strengths and weaknesses. It really highlighted the importance of getting priorities right. Especially during difficult and challenging financial times, investing in the right areas makes all the difference in terms of the future of a community and a region.
This trip, like so many others, reminded us of how much we have going for us here in Colorado. While Portland is struggling with a fractured business community and struggles to align around investment choices, we have a track record of working together to move our state forward, even when we don’t all agree.
Colorado continues to have a challenging state budget-we have a $1 billion gap to fill for this next budget cycle. Again, tough choices will be required. What’s important is those choices are made with an eye on the future. It is critical that we provide data and information that will help inform legislators as to which choices will help protect those pillars deemed key to Colorado’s economic success: transportation, health care and education.
The business community knows that we need to make funding decisions based on data and analysis and that we all must be part of the solution. We will do our best again to help provide information to Colorado’s elected officials to ensure Colorado makes the right choices in terms of funding priorities during these times.
As we begin planning for next year’s Leadership Exchange Trip to Boston, we look forward to continuing our efforts to learn from others and help guide Colorado’s future toward one of economic prosperity.