Issues & Political Concerns
Time for Change
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are our innovators, the ones who take risks and build. Small businesses are the ones who provide jobs and make our community the place we want to live. Because of that, we cannot place heavier taxes and regulations on them. The burden would be too heavy, and we would quickly see all those services and jobs disappear. Our state and local government has already begun to place those burdens on small businesses this year. We need to do everything we can to ease the burden on small businesses. We must alleviate tax burdens. We must listen to owners for suggestions on how we can creatively reduce unnecessary regulations. We must provide much-needed infrastructure, roads, sidewalks, and beautification projects to create safe and easily accessible ways to support our businesses. I believe that it is the government's job to encourage small business growth going forward. I want to emphasize the listening aspect. Each business model has a unique perspective and needs. Because I make will make it a priority to listen I will be better informed on how to use taxpayer dollars to drive commerce and support small businesses. Their success is our success.
Right now, we are experiencing an extreme housing shortage. Our housing inventory, the number of houses on the market is at an all-time low. This low inventory drives home prices up drastically, on average more than 100K a house, making it impossible for many people to find an attainable home. Homeownership is the #1 way that Americans build wealth. The high home prices have caused potential buyers to enter into the rental market, which drives rents up. The people who are most affected by this housing crisis are those in the lower-income brackets. Much of the blame falls on Covid artificially inflating the market. But also, some responsibility falls on city council. For years people have been telling them that we needed more attainable housing and development at every income level to prepare for demand. We knew the demand was coming. Their response has been tighter zoning restrictions on development. They are stopping developers from meeting demand and off-putting the burden and the benefit on the West Plains and the Valley, beginning our urban sprawl. I propose we reform zoning, bring in more multi-use downtown, more residential downtown, and take a hard look at underdeveloped areas around our city center. We need to get out of the way of developers and investors and let the market forces do their work. Attainable housing at every price point is essential to our success. If we can do this, Spokane will see a new era of prosperity. Just so you know I hear that red flag in your mind that says, “I don’t want a bunch of condos next to my house.” That is not going to happen. We are not talking about building in the middle of neighborhoods. What we are talking about is building in places where there is currently space.
Heartbreaking. Not just heartbreaking, but dangerous to all citizens of Spokane. So far City council's response to the issue has been raising taxes to outsource the problem. We need to learn how to be effective with the budget we have. There are a lot of great examples of organizations across Spokane that have done this well. I want to cut parts of our homeless funding that have unnaturally low success rates and bolster areas with a higher success rate. I will also push us towards increased partnerships with private entities with proven track records in our community. We have to be efficient with the funds we are allocated because money does not always equal success.
Oh, Spokane roads. If roads are the veins that carry the lifeblood throughout the body of our city then Spokane has bad circulation!
Infrastructure is a fundamental role of the government. Unfortunately, our City Council wholly ignores it. I believe our first priority when it comes to the uses of taxpayer dollars is to build a clean, functional, aesthetically pleasing, business encouraging, and safe infrastructure. That means smooth roads without potholes. That means enlarged sidewalks with beautification initiatives such as trees, benches, etc. That means maintaining roads not just in wealthy neighborhoods but also in lower-income neighborhoods. That means focus on business districts to encourage foot traffic and a feeling of safety which will encourage commerce and support for our small business community.
There is a myth out there that because Spokane has a strong strong winter we cannot keep up with our crumbling infrastructure. That is not true! We are not the only city in America that has winter. Many other cities successfully maintain their infrastructure. No more excuses, we need leaders who will take care of the city they have been put in charge of. I will be that leader.