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Island County needs to refocus emphasis | Letters
Island County officials are obsessed with programs that increase tourist activities and their dollars.
This is a waste of taxpayer funds that only results in increasing the number of seasonal poverty level jobs with no fringe benefits.
Why are they ignoring the following information?
n In May 2010, Island County’s unemployment rate was 9.9 percent.
In 2007, Island County averaged more than 15,800 jobs covered by unemployment insurance, of a total of 16,580 non-farm jobs.
n In 2008, there were 33,340 Island County residents in the labor force, and 16,580 jobs in Island County, that means the off-island commuter ratio is about 50-50.
Sad to say the economic data for the county has worsened in the past three-plus years.
Elected officials claim they have produced jobs but can’t show us where, especially jobs that are not associated with tourism and retail.
It’s time to change direction and get off the tourism fantasy they preach as being so good for our economy.
Those jobs erode the average worker’s income and usually do not include a benefits package full time employees are granted.
Voters will soon be evaluating the real value of elected officials and decide to not vote for any candidate who will not show a specific plan for how they plan to solve the employment problems of past years and it’s not more tourism or more tax paid government workers.
What’s the future hold for us?
Without a different approach in economic planning, this kind of job growth will continue to erode the average workers income and our poverty level will increase.
This must change.
We need zoning areas with streets and utilities installed for light manufacturing and industrial kinds of jobs and regulations that make it easy for firms to do business in Island County.
Look at what Anacortes has accomplished which proves Island County’s need for some attitude adjustments.
The cost for commuters’ time, money and energy off island is huge, both to the people commuting and to the island; the economic reality is that commuter disposable income is often spent off island.