Private businesses are the backbone of the national, state and local economy. Private businesses provide all of our jobs, either directly, or indirectly through taxes they and their employees pay. These taxes pay for our valued state and federal employees.
We all need jobs to support ourselves and our families. Moreover, new jobs will be needed when our children and grandchildren are ready to enter the job market.
Juneau jobs are limited because we are primarily a government town. If one is not working for the government, one is probably working for a business that supports government employees - food, housing, transportation, service and entertainment, to name a few. Tourism is big, but those jobs last for five months and are not sufficient to maintain a family year round.
For young professionals or young trades people just out of school, their options are limited if they want to stay and live in Juneau. We need to expand opportunities for those young people if we hope to live near our children and grandchildren. That's why it is discouraging for me to see how decidedly unfriendly to business this town is.
How many new large opportunities for expanding our economic base have taken a good look at Juneau and gone away? How many industries no longer exist? How many conditions are going to be placed on proposed mines, proposed roads, proposed housing developments, proposed big-box stores, proposed schools, proposed airport expansions, or heavens, proposed airport safety improvements, before they give up and go home? I'm afraid we are very near that point already.
So if we want to live close to our children and our grandchildren, well we'll just have to retire and move close to them. And what about our cherished Juneau quality of life? It will still be in Juneau, but we won't be. We'll be in Anchorage or Seattle, where our kids are.
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