• Washington: A Bright Future

3-28-08
Guy W. Midkiff

When someone runs for a political office, they usually speak in vague generalities, almost the way a fortune teller does, so that their message has broad appeal and collects the most favorable opinions possible, but rarely is there any substance in their message.

I am not a professional politician. I am an airline Captain, with a military background, and a business owner. I have a degree in economics (agriculture economics) from Texas A&M University. I make no excuses for my conservative beliefs and am a fervent student of Reaganomics. And unlike my opponent, I am very clear about what I stand for.

Specifically:

1. reduce the growth of government spending,
2. reduce marginal tax rates on income from labor and capital,
3. reduce regulation,
4. control the money supply to reduce inflation.

I believe the City of Washington has strayed dramatically from our fiscally conservative heritage and quite possibly may be causing serious problems for our future. On a micro-economic scale, we can do nothing about item “4.” But we can certainly address items 1-3, though.

Speaking of regulation, it comes in several forms. Regulation is necessary to ensure the public good, but can quickly over-reach. Here we must have balance. Many good construction jobs have been lost to surrounding communities because some builders find the Washington regulatory environment too restrictive. This is not my opinion, but based on actual conversations I have had with builders and developers.

Part of the problem comes from the fact that very few people in our city government has ever run a business or had to meet a payroll. No doubt, all are extraordinary people in their own right, but have never had to develop a budget or analyze complex projects based on returns on income or generally accepted accounting principles.

One only needs to read the local newspaper to see the recent and many wrong turns on capital expenditures, this city government has taken. We have and are spending money in areas that can either wait or be tabled permanently. The water sewer treatment plant is a classic example. No doubt we will need the plant, but…did we go about the financing of the project in the proper manner? Is it possible that we could have avoided the almost tripling of water/sewer rates and the $20M bond financing? Did we consider the dramatic affect a near tripling of water/sewer rates will have on those of us on fixed incomes??

Maybe we could have spent less on other projects and focused more on the basics – things we need, as opposed to things we want. The spending spree we have been on for the last 5 years is not conservative, it is big-city-ways, that will get us in big-city-problems. To show how far we have strayed, our city council actually tried to pass an ordinance requiring a certified arborist to trim our own trees – give me a break.

We must begin by rolling back the tax rate, each and ever year. Are we conducting city business as efficiently as possible? The first thing a corporation does when belt tightening begins is slashing costs. One dollar cut from cost is significantly more valuable than one dollar of tax revenue raised. Dollars cut goes directly to the bottom line, one tax dollar brought in, does not translate to one full dollar because of the inherent inefficiencies of the tax collecting and distribution process. So, taking in less money will force new efficiencies in the system.

Also, while we lavish dollars on large corporations through corporate welfare handouts, let’s not forget that one-dollar spent on an indigenous business keeps three times as much of that dollar in the local community, than does a dollar spent on a nation chain. (The local business: buys a local car, eats in a local restaurant, and uses a local bank, doctor, lawyer and mechanic. I could go on and on.

Also, never forget that that fancy fortune 500 corporation will not hesitate giving pink slips to 500 people and moving their jobs to Mexico – over night.

So go ahead and build them their $6.5 Million dollar runways, but never forget the vital importance of local businesses.

As we move into the future, I would like to see varied businesses develop here. We all ready have:

• Outstanding work ethic.
• Natural proximity to the Missouri River and a major interstate.
• Geographically centered.
• In place banking industry.
• In place industrial park.
• Dramatically growing medical facilities.
• Nearby university.

Some new areas we should consider:

• Bio-technology
• Medical-technology
• Hi-Tech
• Communication
• Research
• Alternative Energy

We should aggressively pursue developing the infrastructure and framework to attract such companies. I would like to see a venture capital forum convene here next year and begin committing to the type of venture capital such businesses need for seed money.

A fresh look should be given to developing Initiative Teams to develop new, successful, growth strategies. We absolutely must make sure our core competencies are well represented at the state and federal levels.
Washington must be seen as a business friendly community that not only caters to corporate America, but also the boutique and entrepreneurs that will retrench larger portions of their profits, back in our community.

If we want to keep our child and children’s children, in our community, we simply must make a huge commitment to advanced educational programs.

Better Education = Better Jobs

Our Future is Bright!
Guy W. Midkiff

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