Cities, counties and states through the nation are creating their own economic stimulus plans to cope with the recession.
We could do this too: use more local contractors for ongoing construction projects; offer gift cards to encourage shopping in town; and reduce rent to help out local businesses. Some of this is happening, but it needs to happen faster.
As The Wall Street Journal reports: “Some are taking the traditional route of cutting corporate taxes. Others are trying all sorts of ideas: Paying residents to shop in local stores; giving real-estate brokers bonuses for bringing tenants to empty strip malls; reducing fees on new development; even critiquing local restaurants and giving owners feedback on how best to bring in customers.”
In Carrollton near Dallas, the council has dipped into a budget surplus to create up to 250 temporary jobs paying $8 to $10 an hour, the Journal reports. “Hiring will swing into gear this week for shifts planting trees, painting fire hydrants and sprucing up Little League fields,” the paper said.
We can’t afford this here, but we could do other things: For example:
•Construction projects, such as the ongoing one at Sierra College, could make a more concerted effort to use local contractors. I hear this is being considered!
•Businesses could get together to offer gift cards for residents who spend a certain amount of dollars here instead of “down the hill.”
•More landlords could offer reduced rent to businesses, at least for a while. This has been happening in downtown Nevada City and some commercial deals, but it could expand.
All told, it will require leadership in business and government to get “out of the box” and come up with some cool ideas. Are we up to it?