Monday, March 02, 2009

$14 million for a ditch? Where are the jobs? 2/26 HP


The $14 million-plus to rebuild Benton Harbor's ship canal is a prime example of what is wrong with us and with Obama's stimulus package. If completed, the canal would be, at best, a ditch in which only short-oared row boats could pass each other and it would provide no new jobs. What we need in our area are more jobs...and we get? A golf course for the elite, a gov. subsidy-dependent Benton Harbor, and a ship canal in the most polluted part of BH. ...immense taxpayer burdens without job development.
Wouldn't it be better if someone had a plan to create 140-plus small businesses in our area in less than three years? ...create approximately 750 new jobs with the new businesses? ...not ask for any gov. grants...establish a low-cost, low-tax, business-friendly environment that required no local, state or fed. gov. micromanagement. BH's Enterprise Zone was such a totally successful plan, 1990-1993.
Let me explain one example of how this area misses the target for new jobs. Cornerstone Alliance recently received a government grant for $80,000 to rhetorically determine that a business incubator at a high-fee basis would not develop new, small businesses in our area. During 1990 to 1993, BH had a full, low-cost business incubator at 200 Paw Paw Ave. that was generating new businesses and had a long waiting list of entrepreneurs.
Rather than concentrating on job development, we taxpayers have a delightful alternate. After we finish our $200-plus round of golf, we can invest in world-renowned art in BH. Then we can walk over and watch our $14 million-plus in stimulus tax dollars be flushed down the certified county drain.
Could an enterprise zone generate hundreds of new businesses again? Absolutely! I know this to be true, as I was the developer and chairman of the successful Benton Harbor Enterprise Zone.
I will help any group that wants to take up the challenge.

Robert Jackson, Coloma