HBA PAC Endorses Candidates for Mayor and City Council for 2015 City Elections

February 12, 2015

The Political Action Committee of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs (HBA PAC) has been working the last several months to identify visionary leaders for the April 7, 2015 city elections. After first meeting with three strong candidates for Mayor, the HBA PAC made the decision to endorse former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

“It is unusual to have so many well-qualified candidates, with so many years of experience and successful service to the region,” according to Kyle Campbell, HBA PAC Chairman. “However, the opportunity to have John Suthers continue his public career in his hometown of Colorado Springs by moving from Colorado Attorney General to Mayor of Colorado Springs was judged to be an important opportunity for the City and the HBA PAC made the decision to endorse Mr. Suthers for Mayor.”

Suthers’ governmental background, insights into City issues, executive experience managing the Attorney General’s office, and agenda for the City and its staff were cited as some of the strengths which were persuasive to the committee and contributed to the endorsement.

In addition to the Mayor’s race, three at-large seats will be selected for City Council, along with an election in District #2. Colorado Springs will have four of the nine City Council positions decided this April. Members of the HBA PAC have invested many volunteer hours meeting with potential candidates in what is being considered an extremely important election for the community.

Candidates were evaluated based on a number of criteria, including their service to the Colorado Springs community, knowledge of City government, and demonstrated leadership to the community, as well as their background, availability to devote to public service, and ability to field an effective campaign.

Among the number of impressive candidates this election cycle, four received the HBA PAC endorsement. The three candidates running at large are Merv Bennett, Tom Strand, and Jariah Walker.

Merv Bennett has served Colorado Springs as a non-profit leader with the YMCA, as President Pro Tem of City Council, and as Chairman of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors. Bennett has also been an advocate for free enterprise and private property rights. In addition to his experience, Bennett’s reputation for working with all sides to find common ground and his commitment to the city government stakeholder process brought him a strong endorsement from the HBA PAC.

Tom Strand is another proven leader for Colorado Springs who served as a legal officer in the United States Air force and as a member and President of the District 11 School Board. The HBA PAC was impressed with his desire to continue his public service by seeking a position on the Colorado Springs City Council. Strand’s education, experience leading an elected board during a number of difficult decisions, long history in the community, and approach to City issues made him another clear choice for an endorsement from the HBA PAC.

Jariah Walker is the third endorsement for an at-large seat on the Colorado Springs City Council. Walker has substantial experience in the real estate industry and a firm grasp of the issues faced by the building and development industries. His community service credentials, success as a young professional, family history in Colorado Springs, and passion and vision for the City were persuasive to the interview committee, who believes Walker’s leadership and ideas would bring an important perspective to City government.

In District #2, the HBA PAC endorsed Larry Bagley. Bagley was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on the City Council and is now running to represent the District for the remainder of the term. In an overwhelmingly military district of Colorado Springs, Bagley’s Air Force Academy and military experience play a significant role in representing District #2. Before becoming involved with the City Council vacancy, Bagley contributed his time to his local home owner’s association and Council of Neighborhoods and Organizations. As a newcomer to City Council, Bagley has proven himself to be a thoughtful leader on City issues and has shown a willingness to be an advocate for all of Colorado Springs and his District.

Stay updated with the 2015 Election Coverage from the HBA PAC.

 

 


The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs Approves an Extension of its assessment program to the Regional Business Alliance through 2016

November 24, 2014

HBA logo - blue - vertical - smallHBA Renews its commitment to the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance

 

On Wednesday, November 19th, the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs (HBA) convened a special meeting of its builder members to discuss the renewal of the builder assessment program to the Regional Business Alliance (formerly the Economic Development Corporation).

The assessment program was instituted many years ago by the HBA to support the EDC’s jobs mission.  Through the assessment program, HBA builder members pay an additional fee to the Regional Business Alliance through their building permits.  These fees are collected by HBA and then passed to the Regional Business Alliance as part of their budget.

HBA began supporting the formerly created economic development corporation due to its mission of creating primary jobs for the City and the region.  From time-to-time HBA holds special meetings of its builder members to discuss the program’s continuation in relation to the original mission of the EDC.

After the November 19th meeting, HBA voted to continue its Regional Business Alliance Assessment at the present level for twenty-four months.  In 2012, following the merger of the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation, HBA had instituted an annual review process; this vote returns our support to a multi-year commitment”.

“We are very optimistic about the future of Colorado Springs, and believe the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance is building the momentum to increase our local economic activity and build new jobs for Colorado Springs and our region.  During the presentations, it was clear the Regional Business Alliance has built a very qualified team of experts in their fields.  We support their work, and were impressed with their future plans and discussions with potential employers.  We all want to achieve success for our community and we want this two-year extension to be a strong show of support for the importance of our shared economic development mission,” said Mike Ruebenson, with La Plata Communities, and the newly installed 2015 HBA President.

As we have in the past, HBA will continue meeting regularly with the leadership team from the Regional Business Alliance to be updated on their strategic and measureable outcomes to create new primary jobs in the Colorado Springs metropolitan area and work with our elected leaders to build a stronger Colorado Springs with better jobs for our current and future citizens,” added Mike Ruebenson.


HBA Installs Mike Ruebenson with La Plata Communities as the new President

November 21, 2014
Mike Ruebenson COO La Plata Communities 2015 CSHBA President

Mike Ruebenson
COO La Plata Communities
2015 CSHBA President

The Housing & Building Association (HBA) of Colorado Springs continued its 62-year tradition of electing high profile industry leaders to represent the most influential association in the Colorado Springs region. The HBA represents 550 member companies and some 10,000 +/- citizens in the region; membership in the HBA is diverse and covers all areas of the home & commercial building industry, including landscaping, home products, banking, contractor trades, architects and building supplies, as well as builders and developers.

Mike Ruebenson with La Plata Communities was installed as the 2015 HBA President at the HBA Annual Membership Reception, held Wednesday, November 19 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. 2014 HBA President Joe Loidolt with Classic Homes moved into the position of Immediate Past President, and Tim Seibert with N.E.S. was installed as the HBA President Elect. Newly elected board members were: Grace Covington, Covington Homes; Mike Fenton, Century Communities; Eric Hunter, Keller Homes; Mark Long, Vanguard Homes; Michelle Grove-Reiland, Broadmoor Properties; and Mark Reyner, Land Title Guarantee Co.

Also honored were the volunteer “Chairs” of the different Committees and Councils that carry out the mission of the Housing & Building Association. These volunteers give hundreds of hours each year to support the building industry. Thank you to: Kyle Campbell – Classic Consulting Engineers & Surveyors, LLC; Tim Seibert – N.E.S. Inc.; Dylan Fischer – Ferguson Enterprises; Lani Moore – Unified Title Company; Amy Martin Cox – PICs / Perceptive Image Creations; Mike DeGrant – Lowell Development Partners, LLC; Mike Finkbiner – Robbins Roofing Specialists, Inc.; George Hess – Vantage Homes Corp.; John Radcliffe – Ensign Engineering & Land Surveying, Inc.; Nick Kachel – Aspen View Homes, LLC; Matt Hiner – Hiner Landscapes, Inc.; Shelley La Judice – The Marketing Group; Tim McConnell – Drexel, Barrell & Company; Debra Witte – DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of the Pikes Peak Region; Mark Witte – DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of the Pikes Peak Region; Carrie Bartow – CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP; Mark Bussone – Vantage Homes Corp.; and Kevin Walker – Walker Strategies, LLC

Trophies were presented to volunteer members from the membership drive. Todd Stephens with Windsor Ridge Homes received the traveling trophies for recruiting the most new members during the year and during the 2-day membership drive and Mark Bussone with Vantage Homes received recognition for membership retention of the new members he recruited in 2013.

Achievements such as these are great testimonials to the housing and building industry, both in our local community, as well as at the national level. We all benefit from those whose time, loyalty, and leadership are so graciously and willingly given in an effort to accomplish HBA’s mission of keeping housing affordable.

The HBA of Colorado Springs is a non-profit trade association comprised of more than 550 member companies. The local association is affiliated with the Colorado Association of Home Builders with a membership exceeding 2,000 and the National Association of Home Builders, which has more than 140,000 member companies nationwide. The HBA of Colorado Springs is committed to promoting policies that allow for the production of safe, decent and affordable housing and to enhancing the environment for the housing and building industry in El Paso County.

 


The National Debt: Growing but More Slowly

September 8, 2014
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,  GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

The federal debt routinely captures headlines and continually grows but is there a crisis? Should congress fix the debt immediately, or have we made enough progress? Turns out, in the short-run we are fine, but there is heavy lifting that must yet be done if we are to get to a sustainable path.

While the debt is huge, it’s the ratio of debt to GDP that matters. Ignoring debt held by government agencies (such as the $5 trillion in IOUs held by the Social Securitv Administration), and focusing on debt held by households, firms and foreigners and upon which the treasury pays interest, the total amount of money the government has borrowed equals, $12.6 trillion, close to 75% of GDP.

To give some perspective, before the Great Recession the debt was 35% of GDP and it was projected to gradually rise to 50% of GDP by 2018 as more Baby Boomers became eligible for Social Security and Medicare and as healthcare cost rose. Then came the Great Recession which resulted in more borrowing as tax receipts fell and more had to be spent on countercyclical social programs including unemployment benefits and food stamps. As a result, debt rapidly rose to 50% of GDP and was projected to rise to 70% within a decade. Then to fight the Great Recession, President Obama persuaded Congress to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka “The Stimulus”) an $800 billion package of tax cuts and spending increases. That along with the weak recovery pushed the debt to 70% of GDP by 2011 and it was projected to rise toward 100% of GDP by 2021 as the economy returned to health and interest rates rose towards normal levels.

At that point things looked grim. Then came some big changes that dramatically improved things. Congress raised taxes on upper income families, cut discretionary spending, and the rate of increase in government spending on healthcare, particularly on Medicare, unexpectedly slowed by 2.25%/year. That improved the projected trajectory of the debt. Now, it is forecast to climb from 75% of GDP today to 80% of GDP by 2024 and it’s projected to climb higher after that. While the debt is high by historical standards, at least it’s getting worse more slowly, at least in the short-run.

The good news, outside of Social Security and Medicare, projected revenues and spending are balanced. The key to balancing the budget is closing the gap between promised future Medicare and Social Security benefits that are actuarially higher than future taxes earmarked for those programs. This can be done by cutting benefits, raising taxes or ideally some of both. Moreover, the earlier these changes are made, the less painful they will be. A second way to fix the budget; pass pro-growth legislation. This would include reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers via trade reform, reducing marginal corporate and personal income tax rates via tax reform, and enabling illegal immigrants to fully participate in the economy via immigration reform. Collectively these policies would raise annual GDP growth by $80 billion, or 0.5%, which when compounded over time is a huge amount.

Our budget problems now lie largely in the future. That, however, must not distract us from grappling with them soon as time passes all too fast. Moreover, assuring markets that we are solving future budget problems should help promote the current economic recovery.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.


WINNERS ANNOUNCED OF THE 2014 PARADE OF HOMES ANNOUNCED! PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS AND INDUSTRY AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE

September 3, 2014

60year_PH_logoThe Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs announced the winners of the Peoples Choice Awards and the Industry Awards of Excellence for the 2014 Parade of Homes. This year’s featured homes ranged in price from less than $150,000 to more than $2,000,000. 25 builders presented 28 homes dispersed between 17 communities for the 60th Annual Parade of Homes.

Industry professionals from around the state judged the homes on a number of features including: landscape design, floor plan, architectural exterior, and interior decorating. The coveted People’s Choice Awards are voted on each year by Parade of Homes attendees. This year’s parade was attended by more than 14,000 guests – up 16% from 2013. The People’s Choice and Industry Awards of Excellence are both broken out into multiple categories divided by price point. Industry Awards of Excellence are then further divided among the following eight categories: Best Kitchen, Best Master Suite, Best Interior Design, Best Exterior, Best Landscape Design, Best Architectural Exterior, Best Craftsmanship and Best Overall Home.

On Friday, August 22, winners of both the People’s Choice and Industry Awards of Excellence were honored by the HBA at the Parade of Homes Awards Banquet held at the Pinery At the Hill with more than 200 in attendance. The sponsor of this year’s banquet was Arlun, Inc. and Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. Luisa Graff Jewelers helped celebrate our diamond anniversary by giving away a diamond necklace to one lucky attendee of the banquet. Congratulations to Melissa Sievers. This was also a fundraiser for our charitable foundation, HBA Cares, raising $1,300.

HBA is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 Industry Awards of Excellence and People’s Choice Awards as follows:

 Under $300,000

Reunion Homes – Grays Peak

Best Kitchen

Best Master Suite

Best Interior Design

Best Floor Plan

Best Architectural Exterior

Best Landscaping

Best Craftsmanship

Best Overall Home

 

$395,000 – $460,000

Vanguard Homes – Hillingdon II

Best Master Suite

 

Oakwood Homes – Evergreen

Best Interior Design

Best Floor Plan

Best Craftsmanship

 

CreekStone Homes – A Little Gem

Best Kitchen

Best Architectural Exterior

Best Landscaping

Best Overall Home

 

$461,000 – $500,000

Vantage Homes – The Valencia

Best Master Suite

Best Architectural Exterior

Best Landscaping

 

Classic Homes – The Monarch

Best Floor Plan

 

Hi Point Home Builders – Princeton

Best Kitchen

Best Interior Design

Best Craftsmanship

Best Overall Home

 

$501,000 – $600,000

Vantage – The Nokota

Best Floor Plan

 

Goeztmann Custom Homes – Mayfield

Best Landscaping

 

Vantage – The Monaco

Best Kitchen

Best Master Suite

Best Interior Design

Best Craftsmanship

Best Overall Home

Best Architectural Exterior

 

$650,000 – $800,000

Elevation Homes – The Shavano

Best Master Suite

 

Stauffer & Sons Construction – Black Forest Revival

Best Landscaping

 

All About Home Design – Field of Dreams

Best Kitchen

Best Interior Design

Best Floor Plan

Best Architectural Exterior

Best Craftsmanship

Best Overall Home

 

$801,000 – $999,000

Copperleaf Homes – The Heritage Estate

Best Landscaping

 

Tuscany Homes – Amalfi

Best Kitchen

Best Master Suite

Best Interior Design

Best Floor Plan

Best Architectural Exterior

Best Craftsmanship

Best Overall Home

 

More than $1,000,000

Saddletree Homes – Colorado Concerto

Best Kitchen

Best Master Suite

Best Interior Design

Best Floor Plan

Best Architectural Exterior

Best Landscaping

Best Craftsmanship

Best Overall Home

 

The Parade of Homes also recognized the Main Sites

Flying Horse

Wolf Ranch

 La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries provided a grand prize of a $2,500 shopping spree. Parade goers were able to enter the drawing at any Parade home or online.  This year’s winner is Gil Bolibol of Colorado Springs, CO.   Aspen Kitchens presented a prize of an Apple iPad was offered to attendees who visited 26 Parade homes and either registered their ticket at one of the homes or entered onlineThe winner of this prize is Tim Taylor of Colorado Springs, CO.

HBA would also like to thank the following Parade of Homes Sponsors for their generous support:

Presenting sponsor

The Gazette

Title Sponsors

Freedom Financial Services

La–Z–Boy Furniture Galleries

Mike Shaw Buick – GMC

Official Ticket Outlet

Safeway

Media Sponsors:

Cumulus Media

KOAA

 Click here for pictures from the Awards Banquet

About the Parade of Homes

The Parade of Homes offers the general public a first-hand look at the current trends and greatest innovations in new home design. This 17-day event showcases the latest design trends in affordable living to luxury dream homes complete with every amenity imaginable. The 2015 Parade of Homes will be held August 7 – 23. You can download the Parade App from the HBA Newsstand, free, from either the App Store or Google Play.

 

About the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs

The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs is a non-profit trade association comprised of more than 550 member companies. The local association is affiliated with the Colorado Association of Home Builders with a membership exceeding 3,000 and the National Association of Home Builders which has more than 185,000 member companies nationwide. The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs is committed to promoting policies that allow for the production of safe, decent and affordable housing and to enhancing the environment for the housing and building industry in El Paso County.

 


National Association of Home Builders announces Executive Officer of the Year Award!

August 19, 2014

renee accepting awardThis award honors a dedicated Executive Officer  whose actions, commitments and accomplishments in a single year have been truly exceptional. In addition, the EO promoted the goals of the NAHB Executive Officers Council (EOC)  and assisted in the advancement of his or her peers. This award is in memory of Gary Komarow, former chief legal counsel of NAHB and a very dear friend of the EOC.

This year’s winner of the Executive Officer of the Year Award was Renee Zentz of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs.  Under Renee’s leadership, the local HBA was honored with 4 national awards, including Best Local Government Affairs Effort, Best Workforce Development Plan Implemented, Best Parade of Homes, and Best Publication.

Renee was nominated by  the current and 9 of her Past Presidents  of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs.    Renee accepted her award on behalf of the Colorado Springs HBA members and her team in St. Louis on August 6.   Congratulations to Renee Zentz from the entire Membership of the Housing & Building Association!

Click here to see video


All Bubbles are Not Created Equal

August 11, 2014
Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,  GraphsandLaughs, LLC

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,
GraphsandLaughs, LLC

In early 2000, the S&P 500 hit 1,553 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ surpassed 5,000. Two years later the S&P was at 768 and the NASDAQ was at 800! In the process, $6 trillion in household wealth was wiped out. We now call that period the dot-com bubble. About half a decade later, we experienced the housing market bubble. Interestingly, the value of residential real estate destroyed during that crisis was also about $6 trillion. Yet the dot-com bubble resulted in a mild recession while the housing bust lead to the Great Recession.   What was different? It turns a major culprit was which households suffered the destruction of wealth.

To set the table, ponder this: During the housing bust, retail spending fell 8% from 2007 to 2009, one the largest drops ever. By contrast, retail spending increased by 5% between 2000 and 2002. Clearly, the losses sustained during the dot-com bust had minimal impacts on household spending decisions and thus on the overall economy. Here is why.

The decline in home prices that began in 2007 was highly concentrated among households with very limited financial resources. As a result, these now much-poorer households dramatically pulled back on spending and in the process unwittingly helped usher in the Great Recession. Remember, retail spending is about a quarter of GDP, so a decline of 8% over two years reduces GDP by 2% — a huge amount. It is as if these poorer households were the transmission mechanism through which the Great Recession got its energy.

Exacerbating and reinforcing this downward spiral was the role of debt or leverage. Remember, by 2004 or 2005 a large percentage of first-time home buyers had low FICO scores, sketchy employment histories and limited assets. To compensate, these Alt-A and subprime buyers borrowed heavily with their now highly levered house being their major financial asset. For example, among the poorest quintile of the population, 80% of their net worth is in their house. Even among the middle quintile, home equity is still 60% of their net worth. By borrowing so much, just a small decline in house prices could put these buyers upside down and wipe them out. Which is exactly what happened and is what turned a recession into the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2010 the bottom 20% of the population saw their net worth fall from about $30,000 to zero.

By contrast, the financial losses sustained during the dot-com bubble were essentially walled off and had relatively little effect on the overall economy. This is because stock ownership is concentrated among the wealthy. As the wealthy have less debt and more assets, they could essentially shrug off the much larger financial losses they sustained yet not have them alter their day-to-day spending decisions. Among the wealthiest 20% of the population, home equity represents just 25% of their net worth. Moreover, depression-era federal laws make it hard to borrow more than 50% of the cost of stock purchases, thereby limiting the potentially negative role of leverage.

In short, the home buyers who bought in 2004 and 2005 had limited wealth and had more of it at risk than earlier home buyers. When the music stopped they were highly levered and wholly unable to protect themselves. That quickly resulted in (among other things) reduced spending, which shrank GDP and quickly cascaded into the Great Recession.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.


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