It’s a bit of a strange conversation for a Chamber of Commerce as we are focused incessantly on the future. I do think there is some merit in taking a step back and asking about the utility of our work for today. If we had to judge the work of our chamber, our city, our county, or our state today how would we be viewed by those who benefit or suffer from our work?
While there is a lot that could be unpacked with a “If Tomorrow Never Comes” mentality, I’ll leave the mental health observations to the professionals and stick to the perspective of business. The question then is: Have we done a good job for business? The answer to that question is a resounding and resolute MAYBE. You don’t think maybe sounds very resounding or resolute? I agree, and I think in a moment you’ll understand why.
We’re the Greatest State Ever
First, it’s important to understand that it’s always better in our state. I have yet to meet a mayor, a governor, or a chamber director for that matter that didn’t think their place was the greatest. I often hear from Wyoming legislators that “Our citizen legislature is the best form of government in the US.” Great to say as political talking points, but hardly unbiased coming from folks who, as far as I know, have never served in or been significantly involved in any other state legislature. Interestingly, I have heard this comment in multiple states. Factually, somebody has got to be wrong, but not Wyoming of course. ☺ Seriously folks, it’s important to view ourselves with as much reality as possible.
Secondly, If I hear we are the most business friendly place in the union one more time I may go into depression. While I think many organizations in Wyoming work diligently to make our cities, counties, and state a great place to live, work, and do business, we aren’t making the grade according to business rankings. Factually, we don’t fall in the top half of business-friendly states. We are really only top of the heap in one business related category and that’s taxes.
So… I guess if we want to be a great place to retire for low income we have met our goal, but if we want to be a competitive place for business we have work to do. Our plan to be a dynasty of the silver-haired community is challenged by our harsh climate. Everyone knows that the Wyomingite that can afford it retires in Wyoming South, or Arizona as it is more commonly known.
There are many wonderful things about our community and our state. This article is not meant to condemn or frustrate, but rather to encourage to be a part of a better future. What our business future looks like is totally up to us and tomorrow will come. The question is what will it bring?
Your Chamber of Commerce is working to make the future better. We need to make regulations more amenable at all levels of government; we need to strengthen our education system so that we can meet the challenges of an innovation-based economy head on; and we need to modernize our transportation and broadband infrastructure to harness our full potential. It’s up to us, Wyoming. We can move forward into the future by addressing our shortcomings, or we can continue to deny that we have some problems we need to get fixed. Our future will be defined by our actions. Let’s choose wisely.