07/03/2010: "Encourage, Don't Discourage Businesses In SJC"
Milene Henley's recommendations to the County Council, ( Related Story ) discussed in your 6/30 edition, ignore perhaps the best long term solution to the County's budget problem. It's simply to make the County more friendly to non-tourist businesses and encourage those businesses to start up or move here.
It's a staple of government that businesses generate more tax dollars than residents do. But anyone who has tried to set up a stable year-round non-retail business in San Juan County finds it difficult at best.
When I was a member of the EDC some years ago, a company was interested in setting up a small bicycle brake manufacturing business in the islands. This would have been a non-polluting source of year round jobs paying decent wages. But there was virtually nowhere under the Comprehensive Plan where such a business could be set up. Rather than fight the bureaucracy, the company took its small factory, and its jobs and tax dollars, elsewhere.
Some years ago, we were fortunate to have the Luxel corporation move its manufacturing operations, with its jobs and tax revenues, to San Juan Island. If a similar company were to try to locate here today, however, it is far from likely that they would be able to do so.
Cutting government costs and raising taxes seem to be the only options that our County thinks are possible ways to address its financial problems. And that's too bad for both government and residents.
San Juan Island