Another year’s gone by

John McDonagh

Now that a year’s gone by
I hope we’ll try to find some peace
Take from our history what is meant to be
Eventually the truth is plain to see
Another year’s gone by

Written by Foster, Bryan, Felber, Rucker, Sonefeld

2014 was quite a year as we recounted in the December 19 Year in Review edition. Now just days from the New Year, we take a look at what is in store for 2015. Throughout the edition, we hear from local ports and the three Southwest Washington counties about their plans to grow business.

As a region, we routinely lead with high expectations. Where we’ve run into challenges is neglecting to get buy-in for proposed projects, putting the proverbial ‘horse before the cart.’ The lyrics of “Another Year’s Gone By” by Hootie and the Blowfish, offers sage advice as we look at the year ahead and set our New Year’s resolutions.
So, borrowing from our commissioners and councilors from the various political jurisdictions, Be It Resolved:

  • That the businesses throughout the region demand of local jurisdictions a discussion leading to a vision for what we want the community to be. Only when the vision is in place can the business community bring forward plans that will make that vision a reality.
  • That diplomacy once again becomes the law of the land. Whether in local, state or federal discussions, what has been lost these past few years is the art of negotiation and compromise. As business leaders, we need to let our elected officials know it is no longer acceptable for them to hide behind political ideology. If elected officials continue to cling to positions that result in stalemate, then businesses cannot do their part to help to create a community with vitality and promise.
  • That the planning to take place this year around the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan considers the economic development needs of the county and provides not only the zoning designations needed, especially for industrial land, but also provides the necessary infrastructure planning to make those lands developable.
  • That discussion at the state, county and municipal levels addressing revenue needs recognizes the loss of competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining businesses when they look to businesses to provide that revenue. Nothing could bring our much needed recovery to a halt faster than onerous taxes that we have no choice but to pass along to our customers.
  • That our state representatives take seriously the need to create a budget that re-instates the Public Works Trust Fund. Job creation is a key byproduct of economic development. Historically, the Public Works Trust Fund has allowed local jurisdictions to move ahead on infrastructure projects resulting in jobs for their residents; these are projects that allow more private-sector job creating development. The fund has been “repurposed” by the Legislature in recent years and needs to be re-established.
  • That our state legislators, in collaboration with the Governor, understand that education is the cornerstone of a viable workforce with the skills and abilities to step into those jobs businesses bring to the community or create through expansion. Failing to fully fund education will relegate too many of our children to the roles of public assistance. Yes, there are some difficult choices with limited resources in the near-term, but a viable workforce will assure we have the resources we need in the future.

Finally, Be It Resolved that as a business community, in 2015, we “take from history what is meant to be,” correct our course with respect and diplomacy, and through it all find the truth that is plain to see.