Monday, October 5, 2009

Creating Jobs and a Strong Local Economy

Expanding Vancouver's job base requires the experience and leadership of somebody who actually understands how business works.

As a successful small business person here in our community, I know what it takes. In fact, on creating real jobs in our community, the scoreboard reads Leavitt 43; Pollard 0.

Managing budgets, being held accountable for revenues and costs, hiring and letting employees go, evaluating progress versus goals, and insuring the bottom line is in the black – this is the kind of job-creating experience and financial background I will bring to the Office of the Mayor. Having grown an office of professional, family-wage positions from 2 to 45 in the past decade –- this is the kind of experience and knowledge needed to further grow jobs throughout our community.

In our society, the private sector creates jobs and economy. Local employers hire staff and drive employment. Local business generates personal income for personal spending, thus generating sales taxes, property taxes, and employment taxes. It is business that provides economy and jobs, bringing the revenues into the City so that services can be provided.

For the past 20 years, the incumbent hasn’t gotten it.

Contrary to his political rhetoric, the evidence clearly shows that his efforts have failed to bring about jobs for our community.

And now, even while he claims that he's not running on promises, he turns right around and makes the promise that he intends to spend the next four years becoming Vancouver's 'jobs mayor'?

Enough of the political double-speak.

Where are the facts to back up his claims of creating jobs? With the highest unemployment in the state of Washington, evidence clearly points to the contrary. And for those who are fortunate enough to have jobs, 60,000+ Clark County residents still travel to Portland each and every day to go to a job that they CAN’T find here in Vancouver.

Forbes Magazine recently ranked the State of Washington as #2 in our nation for business-friendly environment. How is it, then, that Clark County and Vancouver have an unemployment rate that's nearly 1.5 times higher than the national average?

Our local businesses and employers continue to let staff go, continue to struggle with high taxes and continue trying to navigate the City's cumbersome permitting process.

In the meantime, the incumbent brags of traveling to Japan five times, as well as to Texas and California, to attempt to bring new business to Vancouver. What is there to show for these efforts? Nothing. There is no relief in sight, nothing in the near future, for local business growth and more jobs. Had the incumbent spent more time here in our own community, talking with local businesses –- those small and medium-sized companies that ARE the backbone of our jobs and economy -– we might have more jobs in Vancouver. But 20 years of misplaced priorities leave us with the highest unemployment in the State of Washington, more local businesses closing doors, and more of us traveling to Portland to look for work.

It isn't government's responsibility to create jobs, but local government can create a positive environment and opportunities for BUSINESS and EMPLOYERS to create more jobs. And setting the stage for more jobs means considering how heavily we are taxed and to what effect, and how difficult it is for our local businesses to get permits and licenses.

Every time taxes are increased, local small and medium-sized employers are forced to re-evaluate plans for expansion, plans to increase productivity, and plans to hire more employees.

The incumbent has created an increasingly hostile job-growth environment in Vancouver. In his 20 years, he has fought for and voted in favor of every single tax and fee increase, and done nothing to cut permitting bureaucracy and red tape. That is his answer every time there is a decision about services and revenues; his voting record is all you need to see.

My opponent is sadly mistaken to think that piling more and more taxes on our community and our employers will create more jobs. But, given that he has no business experience, has never had to work competitively to earn a paycheck, has never been responsible for a real-world budget, and has never been accountable for the bottom line –- it’s not surprising that he is comfortable continuing to tax the rest of us into unemployment.

Nearly every day, I work with property owners, builders, developers and local government departments to help permit projects. Over the years, as both a Planning Commissioner and as your City Council member, I’ve fought for stronger protections of our natural resources, coupled with reductions in red tape, process and timelines for gaining permits. For an employer wishing to expand operations or move to our community, the City’s current permitting process and timeline can be a deal-killer.

My opponent has no such experience or record, and he appears to see the city’s businesses and residents as little more than “cash cows.” He has consistently voted to increase and add unreasonable fees, and to make the permitting more complex and drawn-out than it needs be.

Interestingly enough, after 20 years spent in this way, he appears to have read and liked my proposals and platforms—-since he is now parroting them verbatim despite all evidence to the contrary.

Some progress has been made in recent years on permitting and red tape, but not enough. I’ve met recently with city staff and representatives from the development community to discuss further improvements. There will be improvements with new leadership. There will be better job opportunities with new leadership.

City Hall must set the stage for immediate local economic recovery and jobs creation.

Leadership that has the right experience.
Leadership that actually has created well-paid jobs.
Leadership that is willing to work with, instead of against, our local employers.

This is how we will get people back to work.
This is how we will create more job opportunities here in our own community.
This is how we will minimize the need for Clark County residents to have to commute to Oregon for a job (and pay that Oregon Income Tax).
This is how we will create more local economy to support government services.

This is how Vancouver must move forward.


Mikhail Oparin said...

As I understood your opponent says that SEH will create 2,000 jobs over the period of 10 years. I see two things that are wrong with that: 1. low-wage-worker jobs as band-aids over cracks in a wall. SEH is not interested in workers with graduate degrees. Therefore, SEH does not contribute to the development of a strong, educated society in Vancouver. 2. 2,000 cheap labor jobs over 10 years is a slap in the face in comparison to the 60,000 of people in Clark County driving across the bridge to work every day.

ON TOP of that, those 60 thousand people who have to commute across the river, not only pay taxes to Oregon, but expected to raise the money to build a bridge so SEH and others can take more benefits from the new infrastructures.

This is a rape of a middle class in Vancouver! And I see no future of Vancouver becoming a culturally diverse, educated and economically developed community. Instead it will always stay a "Ventucky" as many people in Portland call it.

Toll fees are a direct reflection of what needs to change in Vancouver.

John said...

Well said Tim,
I am having a really hard time as one who represents builders, developers and sometimes just those that have "tree" issues seeing where the City is making any moves at all to soften their overzealous regulation. Moves have been made to reduce staffing to levels that ease the city payroll but do nothing to kick projects out the door. I can only speak from my recent experiences and I'm not happy. I'm sitting on a project that will employ twenty to thirty people. We all know that beyond their income, their dollars will roll over many times. Sound familiar? That's how this country was built. I've been told by staff on many occasions that they can't concern themselves with the economic aspects. Needless to say that makes the blood boil.
Some serious changes need to be implemented. I'd give my business up to assist you in any way to review policies not driven by ordinance. Procedurally, the City has the reputation of being one of the least "business friendly" in any of the surrounding jurisdictions.
If I sound to be in a bad mood, I am. Nothing like scrambling to get something turned in to find the doors locked at 4.

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