GJEP funding is a sound investment
The Mesa County Economic Development Corp., predecessor of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, was created and funded with entirely private money during the last great economic recession in this valley.
Backers of the original organization — business leaders injured by the bust — knew that part of the way out of the economic morass that had been created when the oil shale industry evaporated in the 1980s was to recruit new businesses to the community that would diversify the economy, provide good–paying jobs and help refill local government coffers with new tax money.
More recently, with other communities around the nation pouring money into their economic development engines, the city and county began making healthy contributions to GJEP.
Surprisingly, however, the proposed county budget released earlier this week eliminates any contribution to GJEP.
We think that’s short-sighted, akin to eating one’s seed corn.
If the current group of Mesa County commissioners is tired of seeing declining tax revenues, the more appropriate response would be to work to grow the tax base, not cut funding for the entity whose purpose is to do just that.
GJEP is the primary local group that seeks to recruit new businesses and help key local businesses expand, as it is doing with West Star Aviation. The work it is doing is critical to ensure we have a healthy and diverse economy for the future and that Mesa County has the tax base it needs to provide services to its citizens.
It would be short-sighted for the commissioners — two of whom campaigned last year on a platform of boosting the local economy and said they supported GJEP — to now cut all funding for this important organization.
We encourage Mesa County commissioners to restore or enhance county funding to GJEP.