Looking for examples of local government supporting small businesses.
July 4, 2012 12:44 PM Subscribe
I want to make a presentation to our town council on behalf of local business owners, and I'm having trouble finding examples of how local governments show financial
support for small businesses.
posted by mireille to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The local government of my very small town (pop. 4000) has, for years, been awarding contracts for building and maintenance projects to companies from out of town. These companies are able to offer more competitive bids in part because the cost of wages is so much higher here than it is where they are located (5-8 hours south of here). The cost of goods/materials are higher too due to freight charges that companies south of here do not incur.
While my own business has not yet had occasion to tender a bid with the Town, we are professionally close with other local business owners who are directly impacted by this "outsourcing". People in town are quite upset about this, and while the local government isn't hurting for funds (which were amassed during better years, when both mills were open) the town itself is almost dying and people feel that what money there is should by all rights be kept in town whenever possible. It seems to me that that the playing field needs to be leveled so that local businesses can compete. The town's argument is that they have to go with the lowest bid, and while that makes business sense, they're crippling the town in the process. Like other towns hit by the recession, many family-owned companies here are just hanging on by a thread.
I'm thinking of putting together a presentation for the town council to show how other towns and cities have addressed such matters-- examples that show how everyone benefited would be ideal, if they exist. Since we haven't yet been directly impacted, I would like to support my fellow business owners while not having a personal axe to grind with the Town. I'm thinking that there must be some precedent of a town supplying financial rewards, perhaps in the form of property tax rebates or annual (or one-time) hiring rewards for each employee, just as examples. In our case it would be something to offset the higher cost of doing business given our remote location, but also in the best interests of the town itself. It seems that there must be a way to encourage small businesses to both stay local and to thrive-- after all, we small business owners employee the town's citizens, and downsizing or shutting down affects everyone in a town this size.
I'm having difficulty finding examples, though, mostly because I'm not clear on what search terms to use. Do you have either any concrete examples of local governments financially supporting small business, or can you help me think of search terms that will get me there? One note-- travel/tourism examples don't apply in this case, as this is as close to the opposite of a vacation destination as you can get.