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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Daily journal, 10-13-11

We have an economy that "grows" but doesn't create jobs. The human
toll of this national crisis is devastating for so many families.

It might surprise you then to know that there are hundreds and maybe
thousands of private sector jobs that could come online in Montgomery
County but have not materialized because they are moving in slow
motion through our government bureaucracy.

In an economy like this, if we could accelerate an approved project
for a new office building or hotel and deliver that project and those
jobs in one year instead of two, wouldn't that be an effective job
creation strategy and economic stimulus? Over the short term, clearly
more effective than chasing after companies headquartered in other
jurisdictions?

Just in the past few weeks, I have spoken with business leaders in
Bethesda and Silver Spring who have said that their new commercial and
residential projects, though approved with community support, are
stuck in the mire of our development process. Multiple decisions from
an array of bureaucratic stakeholders at the county level don't happen
quickly enough because there is actually no one inside the government
responsible for getting the projects to the finish line.

This is not to denigrate the individual players at our agencies who
are doing good work. We just need someone who can steer everything
through that maze successfully.

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the county's
economic strategy. I am passionate about these issues because I know
that a job with decent pay is the bedrock of any family and community.
As a county, we make a big profit on tax revenues when we create jobs
but not so much when we create housing. If we want to keep funding our
schools, parks, libraries and social services in a time when incomes
are falling, we need more robust job growth to pay for it.

There is tremendous value locked up in our bureaucracy. We need to get
it moving and get those jobs out to our people. I'm going to see how
I can address this issue.

Meanwhile also, please keep asking Hannah McCann to keep Fenton Street
Market going!