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Showing posts from March, 2014

Sustainability Happening Now

Businesses must embrace environmental sustainability.
Development is a good thing, especially in underserved areas. But, not at the risk of losing what makes our communities and natural geographies unique.
My Godmother and I rode from Dalton to Chattanooga via I-75 heading to Chattanooga. We talked about Northwest Georgia's natural waters, mountains, and trees. My Godmother, a retired elementary school teacher, has a surprisingly great understanding of planning and zoning. 
She pointed out to me some of Northwest Georgia's and Southeast Tennessee's natural wetlands and marshes and how they used to look before developments came in and destroyed most of them. Her statements woke me up to a reality: we should seriously start embracing environmental sustainability. 
Environmental sustainability should no longer be left to Sierra Clubs, conservationists, and "tree huggers" with limited funds. It's up to us, the business community. We are the ones with the capital,…

Consuming and Taxing for It

Bill Gates never ceases to amaze me. Talk about a world changer, whether through technology or philanthropy. Staying on task...

He was a featured guest on the American Enterprise Institute's Freedom Project. The topic of discussion was From Poverty to Prosperity: A Conversation with Bill Gates.

Of his many interesting points, one stood out to me high above the others: we should more aggressively tax consumption.

Consumption tax is a tax on how much you spend instead of your income.

It makes sense. Technology continues replacing jobs. Technology has no income. How then would we supplement decreasing income tax revenues without raising everyone's tax burden?

Everyone likes to buy things. We already have a luxury tax, but it is not effective.

If government were to more aggressively tax consumption, people would no doubt hate it at first, but a similar reform would actually benefit the public in the long-run.

It is not a popular topic, but as technology replaces manual labor, we w…

It's All About Zoning

The issue in Crimea really boils down to zoning.

Crimea voted to become part of Russia. Russia has annexed Crimea into its country.

Annexation is a zoning term. It is simply acquiring a tract of land into another incorporated area. In this case, Crimea is annexed into Russia. Cities annex unincorporated portions of county land all the time.

As a result of Crimea's annexation, Russia will collect taxes, workforce, businesses, people, and all else that "comes with the territory" of now being Crimea's home nation.

When Russia annexed Crimea, Russia did not also draw up portions of Moldova and Romania. Why? Because zoning draws outlines where boundaries begin and end.

Public officials and entities rely on zoning to know where to allocate resources (water and sewer lines, police, fire protection, hospitals, new roads and road maintenance, etc.) to better serve those within a particular area.

Business and residential developers rely on zoning to know where certain land use…

Georgia Tech's 47th Basic Economic Development Course

Today I graduated from the Georgia Tech Basic Economic Development Course. Hands down, the most intense, yet the best economic development training I have ever received!

I am grateful that is offered in Georgia and that my job saw it important enough to send me. There were people from FL, VA, ND, TN, and of course, GA.

I highly recommend every economic development practitioner attend. While on-the-job training is wonderful, this course provides a wealth of information in one setting that you may not learn elsewhere.

While not getting into the details, the course covered:

Business Retention and ExpansionBusiness RecruitmentSite SelectionEconomic vs. Fiscal AnalysisGIS and Mapping Data RetrievalSustainabilityWorkforce DevelopmentMedia Relations  Additionally, this course is required for Economic Development Certification (CEcD) administered through the International Economic Development Council.
Of most importance from taking this class is the relationships. I made new friends. That is w…

Money for Water

Last Fall, Vice President Joe Biden, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, US Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, and Mayor Kasim Reed stood on the banks at the Georgia Port Authority's Garden City Terminal and Vice President told the crowd: "This isn't a partisan issue. This is an economic issue." Referring to the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project's urgency for funds to deepen the Savannah Harbor.

Yesterday President Barack Obama submitted his 2015 proposed budget to Congress. It recommended $1.52M- nothing close to the funds necessary to move the project forward.

Considering Georgia has set aside $231M and Governor Deal requested another $35M. The Presidents $1.52M is marginal.

Understand this is not an Obama-bashing. I am a firm believer in praying for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

The minor funding in the President's budget proposal only means Georgia will have to continue to raise its own funds for the project- which we are more capa…