December 13, 2000
To the Editor,
With a bigger margin of votes than those separating the presidential race, proponents of Colorado’s Prop 24 must be wondering if that many voters can be wrong. But just as most folks’ notions about growth date back to the 1800’s, so does Colorado’s stubborn tendency to boom and bust. Interestingly, our bust of the ’80s followed by the boom of the ’90s paralleled the national economy to the letter. Arvada, for example, grew by a scant 5.5% during the eighty’s recession but tripled the growth in the last decade.
Whether sugar beets or silicon chips, forest products to fossil fuels, and yes, the housing industry as well, dependency on product demand is absolute. Uniquely though, new housing requires area jobs to support new residents. We won’t go into how new homes require higher taxes for schools, roads, etc. or drive up farmed & leased land prices while robbing them of precious irrigation. The recent five million dollar brainwashing, compliments of builders and developers against prop 24, have made that math a little fuzzy.
Of course, homebuilding itself produces countless construction jobs and related small businesses. But what happens if a recession predicted for late 2001 stops the homebuilding? Will remaining jobs support a population twice that of 1980 or is it “Iceberg ahead!” for Colorado?
The news won’t be all bad. You can sell your home today and buy a bigger one along with a couple income properties later. Schools will be well funded and with all the real estate and construction types gone, the roads may at times seem nearly deserted. Honestly, who could wait.