It is tragic how hard the small business community has been hurt as well as major industries such as the travel and the hospitality sector. Ferndale has been particularly hard hit with the loss of Intalco and with the uncertainty surrounding Cherry Point industries. The first thing I would do is actually listen to business owners and industry leaders and hear what they think that they need to recover.
Secondly, I will support policies that offer a stable and predictable business environment. Businesses and individuals do not need the threat of, or further tax burdens such as a payroll tax, head tax, mileage tax, etc… Let’s look at tax rates and realize that these are the people and businesses paying the taxes and we have to get them healthy. I’d like to see reimbursement to businesses for the cost of their COVID compliance which many could not afford. What about some sales or B & O “tax holidays”? Businesses can’t grow when they fear more taxes and regulations. Generally, we need to reign back the government overreach. Let’s do a full review of regulations and reduce them where we can, in every nook and cranny.
Lastly, there are other surrounding issues that affect business recovery such as the lack of affordable housing which limits the labor pool for hiring. The Growth Management Act is largely a culprit for this and needs to be re-evaluated. Workforce development is an area to fund to support vocational and trades skilled labor programs to support our industries and the manufacturing sector. Bellingham Technical College and high school vocational trades tracts could be expanded, supported by early career counseling.
I will advocate for business recovery any way that I am able. It is in my DNA and my life experience is business plain and simple. My degree is in Business/Marketing. My husband and I together have a wide range of business experience from home building, affordable housing, office machines/industrial equipment, real estate development, and an outdoor media company. His background is finance/CPA/real estate, so he is a wealth of information from which I draw.
I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity come when people are free to work and create. People are our most valuable resource. Having been in sales and marketing for most of my life, I know how rewarding it is to start from nothing and build a business by taking the risks to build it and celebrate the success. It’s that pride of ownership that drives competition and innovation. We work hard when are efforts are incentivized.
We need a friendlier business climate in WA state. There is a proverb, “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Let’s get businesses safely and fully open, healthy, and we’ll all enjoy the rising tide.