It’s no secret that we’re living in a tough economy today, and one made potentially tougher on our small, energy-dependent community by the recent passage of Colorado House Bill 10-1365, fraudulently known as the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act.
As witnessed by this act — and compounded by the apparent failure of President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill to do anything resembling jump-starting our economy — it can be safely said that Craig and Moffat County isn’t going to get any aid from the state and federal government in re-invigorating the local economy or job market.
Perhaps that’s not a bad thing.
After all, this community’s leaders and residents have often prided themselves on being independent and maintaining local control without state and/or federal interference.
Well, wish granted.
Big brother isn’t going to come in and help our economy.
The federal government aimed and missed with the stimulus package. The state legislature backed a bill that’s all the way bad for coal miners.
If our governing bodies and agencies — from the Moffat County Commission to the Craig City Council to the three groups whose goals intersect with having a prosperous community — are truly looking out for the best interests of the residents they serve, they’ll uses these examples as plain-as-day evidence that our economy is our problem, and ours alone to fix.
They will stop posturing, dabbling in and messing around the edges of economic development, the Editorial Board contends, and get serious about diversifying, and quickly.
But seriously, this board does not mean throwing more tax money to fund organizations that have shown mixed results. It means getting aggressive with recruitment and incentive packages. It means zeroing in on economic development as the top agenda item.
That’s hardly been the case so far.
The Craig City Council, it should be noted, has made a wise and commendable decision in moving forward with a 6.9-percent lodging tax that, if approved by voters, will re-invest back into the city.
But, this is only a partial measure. It keeps largely out-of-town dollars here at home. It does little to provide jobs or extend the tax base.
More has to be done to get businesses — be they large or small employers — to consider our community as an attractive destination.
It’s doubtful many of our leaders can honestly say economic development has been at the top of their priority list.
It’s doubtful our community can say it has done all it can to create and ensure its own future.
Without proactive measures from within, our future economic viability will continue to be left to the whims of outside power brokers, and state and federal regulations.
We’ve heard our leaders’ rhetoric before about working for the betterment of the community. Now, in the midst of a troubled economy, on the heels of another setback and in need of economic shot in the arm, the Editorial Board is wondering if they’re actually willing to do something about it.