Regarding Budget Discussions: A Letter to City Council
Dear City Council,
I write for two reasons. First I want to thank the city for the efforts it is taking to help business survive the pandemic. I appreciate the creativity and support the city has shown in its efforts to help business as they have struggled to survive these interesting times. The city’s support for Streeteries is one such example. I am sure there are others. I am also very appreciative of the grants the city has given to many businesses. They have literally been business-savers for many. And when a business is saved, there are direct positive impacts. The employees continue to have jobs. The business continues to pay taxes to the city. And in many cases, the business’s customers pay taxes to the city.
That brings me to my second reason for writing. As the city contemplates its budget for 2020, it is imperative that the city focus on using its funds in a manner that will allow the city to continue to provide its core functions. For people to continue to want to live in Issaquah and for businesses to locate in Issaquah, the city needs to continue to provide for the safety of its residents. It needs to have roads and transportation that are open and dependable. It needs to have a permit process that facilitates business growth and success in Issaquah. Because of Issaquah’s tax structure, if businesses go away, the city’s ability to function also goes away. I know the tug to contribute to paying for housing for the homeless. I have contributed to that cause myself. And I know the draw to tap reserves. In my business and in my own finances, I have wrestled with that issue. But as I was once advised, if you put first things first, the other things tend to take care of themselves. So for example, if the city keeps one employee rather than using that money to pay a few people’s rent for a month, that employee does not become homeless. And that employee’s family does not become homeless. And that employee buys groceries and products from stores in Issaquah, which then allows Issaquah to handle other issues with the tax money. I am not saying that the city should keep employees that are not needed. I am saying that as you contemplate the budget that your focus on spending first on expenses that bring a return to the city and that take care of its core functions such as infrastructure, safety, and facilitating businesses ability to function.
At times there is a feeling that business and fighting social needs are at odds. That is not the case. As the presentation in the following link shows, when businesses are functioning well, one of the natural results is that social needs are addressed. https://freemarketsdestroy.com/ I encourage you to spend sometime reading through the presentation. It talks about how businesses have resolved many of the troubling social issues, such as disease, hunger, high rents, and climate change. Many of us that volunteer with the Chamber, do so because we see that business can really have an impact on the social challenges that are important to all of us.
Again, thank you for the work you are doing,