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Friday, October 12, 2012

Boosting economic growth in Montgomery County


I wanted to share an article about economic growth in Montgomery County that ran recently in the Examiner. It includes this quote by me:
Riemer warned his fellow lawmakers that the county's tax base may be eroding. With that huge regional imbalance in job growth ... we're traveling further to job centers, so our residents who have choices will move closer to jobs elsewhere. The ones who have choices have higher incomes.
I am concerned about our rate of job growth in the county for many reasons. For example, we need to expand our commercial tax base in order to fund our government services and keep our general tax burden from rising.

The council recently passed legislation that Roger Berliner and I proposed, which would require the county to draft an Economic Development Strategic Plan that contains measurable goals on job creation, target industries and geographic areas, workforce education and training, growth in tax base and other factors. This plan must be approved by the County Council. All business incentives proposed by the Executive must be consistent with this plan. The County Council passed our bill unanimously.

My hope for this legislation is that it will result in a better strategic plan for economic development with stronger support for that plan from county leadership. A key goal is to provide a vehicle for the county’s leadership in the private and public sector to come together around a shared vision for how we move forward.

For Montgomery County to improve its competitive position, I believe we must do a better job engaging the private sector in our economic development work.

These kinds of planning exercises can work to build consensus about the problem and a solution agenda. The International Economic Development Council provides many examples of how local governments have improved their outcomes through smart planning.

I will continue keeping you updated about my work on these important issues and I welcome any feedback that you may have.

Regards,

Hans Riemer
Councilmember, At-Large