Commentary: Washington State business climate in state not conducive to growth

Sabrina Morales
for The Olympian


Beautiful mountain ranges, amazing stretches of water and very tall evergreens. We all know Washington state is very attractive, but is this enough to attract and keep employers? That is the mentality of the majority of the government of the state of Washington.

I once asked a congressman if we had a recruiting plan for this state to entice employers to move their business to Washington.

His response was about what we once had. We used to have a good, low congestion road system. We used to have a good health system. All that is left are good schools and the amazing scenery.

Wake up, Washington. If we don't start today to make the changes toward a growing economy, the children who are getting educated and other employers looking to relocate their businesses or start up a new division won't be looking at Washington as a home.

What does this mean to you? It means we have less disposable income going into our economy, fewer jobs and a depressed future.

If you look around the Olympia area, we have a growing retail industry with a new Home Depot, Fred Meyer, Target and Walgreens. I don't think we have enough space for another grocery store.

What about replacement employers for larger corporations such as Miller Brewing, which is closing, and Sunset Life Insurance, which has already locked its doors? No offense, but we all can't work for the state of Washington.

The state can't take care of everyone between paying out the highest amount of unemployment checks and salaries for state workers.

Is there even a plan to help the unemployment rate situation? Do we have a formal recruiting committee to entice companies to relocate to our state? The answer is no.

Other states create relocation incentives. That is why some cities are home to a variety of employers.

Take Boise, Idaho, for example. Boise has tax incentives, a good road system, good education and a reasonable cost of living for employers to relocate to. They also make it easier for individuals to start up small businesses.

Washington state has a lot of obstacles. We should be looking at improving the process and creating incentives.

The Economic Development Council and the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Tacoma have been doing a great job in the revitalization of their downtown. They have stimulated new businesses, eased the commute and brought people and disposable income back into the economy of Tacoma.

The Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater area is bulging at the seams with retail and new state buildings, instead of improving what already exists.

I have seen many businesses come and go for a variety of reasons such as rent increases and impact fees.

The state does not have a realistic understanding about what motivates businesses to relocate. We need to get serious and focus on improving the economic state of Washington instead of thinking it will get fixed on its own over time.

How many more sons and daughters will be moving out of state to find employment? We want a better future for Washington. Make it happen for the good of all of us.

Sabrina Morales, a human resource specialist, is a member of The Olympian's Diversity Panel.


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