Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hans Riemer: Working to Support Small Businesses and Economic Recovery

Following is a policy piece released by council at-large candidate Hans Riemer's campaign on helping small businesses and pursuing economic growth.


Hans Riemer will work to reposition Montgomery County as an economic leader in our region and in the global economy. For decades, Montgomery County government has taken economic progress for granted, thanks to the investment that comes in to the county as a result of the Federal presence we have here. Complacency will not work any longer.

Consider regional economic forecasts. According to economists, the jobs that companies create in other parts of the region will be higher paying, better jobs than are created here; while the jobs that companies create here will be more in the service sector, with lower pay. As a result, people who work here will have to drive from long distances because they can not afford the housing... while people who live here will have to commute long distances to earn enough pay to live here. The result is worsening traffic and a degrading quality of life for everyone.

Improving our competitiveness and long term economic outlook will require us to bring new companies here and keep our home-grown success stories from leaving. These are largely smaller businesses.

While tax giveaways get much of the attention around economic competitiveness, the reality is more mundane. To improve our business climate we need the following conditions for businesses:

1. Affordable retail space
2. Competitive tax and regulatory policy
3. Transportation solutions
4. Affordable housing for workers
5. Workers who are trained in their sectors
6. Good schools and quality of life for the workforce
7. And a county government that won’t forget small businesses when big businesses compete for attention.

Of these, the hardest to create is good schools. We have that already. The remaining factors are directly under the control of the County government, and we can do better.

As part of Hans’ plan to recharge the local economy in a way that is consistent with our progressive values, Hans will also help small businesses continue to take advantage of the growing green business practices and green procurement requirements.

It’s time for Montgomery County to have an economic plan. We are at a competitive disadvantage in the region and the long term outlook is not good. We must take action in the next Council to turn it around.