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Job Investment Fund MUST go forward

By   /   March 21, 2013  /   Comments

There’s a snag in the job investment fund that commissioner Bob Langstaff first proposed many months ago, but it needs to be worked through and worked through quickly.  That job investment fund may be the last, best hope for turning things around in Albany, and we need it desperately.

“But Tom, I thought you libertarians weren’t crazy about that kind of thing,” you might say, and you’d be right.  I’m not.  Unfortunately, I’m also realistic enough to know that if Albanydoesn’t do this kind of thing, we’ll be a distinct disadvantage trying to lure new jobs here.

We need jobs.  There’s no way around it.  While jobs may not be the magic bullet for Albany’s ills, they’re still an essential element to our survival.  Entrepreneurship is a wonderful thing, but after almost 18 months of entrepreneurship on my part, I feel extremely confident in telling you that it’s far from a done deal.  Starting a business is never a sure thing, and right now we need sure thing jobs.

The job investment fund is a way to give us a leg up.  Albany can talk all it wants about our amenities, but that’s simply not going to be enough to bring in jobs.  Don’t believe it?  Take a look at the last few years.  Oh, a few employers have come to town, but they’ve been small scale and insufficient for our needs.  We need a lot more of them.

By having an investment fund, we can provide some incentive for perspective businesses to come to town.  While other towns may not, that’s their problem.  I hate to sound callous, but we need to focus on us.  This is an opportunity for us.

The snag appears to be how to replenish the funds.  There is a natural resistance to using tax monies for this, and I can certainly understand that.  In fact, I support that.  Instead, perhaps the powers that be should look into a slight increase in rates for things like business licenses and other permits with that increase going into the new fund.  Why should we business owners foot the bill?  Well, partially because we tend to be the ones who will benefit the most from new businesses coming into town.

This isn’t ideal, but someone’s got to pay for it, and since I’m a business owner, I’m willing to pony up some of my own money when I have to.  I’m sorry, but I refuse to ask someone else to pay for something that could ultimately benefit me.  Yes, I’m talking about other business owners helping foot the bill, but again, they’ll benefit as well.

How much will this generate?  No idea.  I haven’t crunched the numbers, though I’m pretty sure it won’t cover all of it.  Still, it’s a good place to start.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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