A funny thing happened

To the Editor:

A funny thing happened on the way to improving Tuolumne County’s economy (i.e., creating more businesses, jobs and affordable housing) — the county invested in TCEDA which held numerous meetings, press conferences, business lunches, economic studies and consulting reports, but with few performance outcomes over the past five years. This turns out to be the road map most traveled by both political parties and frequently used by governmental bureaucrats.

The road most often taken by local businesses and entrepreneurs is just the opposite — demonstrated results that exceed expectations without all the extraneous expenditures and consulting reports.

This being my fifth letter challenging TCEDA’s (Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority) roadmap on creating millons of dollars in local economic improvements, I am now challenging them on their new five-year road-map — to create 10 new businesses, 50 new jobs and successfully launch 15 start-ups. These new businesses will be asked to pay “family wages” and are encouraged to help provide affordable housing.

Here is a “what if” for TCEDA and its governing board members. What if these new businesses will pay family wages (typically big box stores) but end up bankrupting 20 existing small businesses? This is already happening. Also, family wages do not mean greater wealth creation, just higher operating costs and more part-time jobs without health insurance. You see this almost every day with small business closures and unemployment rates going up in the county. What if 9 out of the 10 startups fail, which is the national average? Will TCEDA only report the positive and not the negative outcomes using their fuzzy math?

I have a suggestion. Take TCEDA’s $500K annual budget and invest these funds in local schools and nonprofit organizations that reliably return measurable job-creating/employee training dividends to the community. It is time for a new road map.

Ken Perkins