Sequester – the latest scene in our federally sponsored passion play over budget issues that is becoming the norm. Maybe it’s finally time to look inward and empower Main Street to lead our sustainable recovery.
Obviously, the country’s issues didn’t occur overnight and one idea will not solve them. However, with each stalemate, local municipalities are left searching for ways to manage through shortcomings at the federal and state levels.
The usual local recourse is re-doubling traditional economic development. Continue to sweeten offers for manufacturing or major retail partners, create TIF districts, etc. Some communities have seen value in revitalizing downtown districts through the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Approach.
Local business is the ultimate community stakeholder, yet we often pass it by and take it for granted. In mid-2012, Realtor Magazine showed results of the impact that small business has on creating revenue for local communities.
Excitement in 2012 over bi-partisan federal passage of the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) held promise for the concept of “Locavesting” in Main Street. It has been dulled by the lack of urgency on drafting rules for executing the legislation.
Previously, I’ve covered the need to move small business support from “Hallmark holiday” status. Even reaching levels advocated by Main Street supporters – that is directing 10% of your spending to local business – would be a big step.
Some are beginning to think creatively. Bayonne, NJ – following enactment of a similar effort in Marlboro, NJ – has recently proposed tying property tax rebates to local small business spending.
Every community has assets in its toolbox. Local small business incubators – some sponsored by local governments, educational institutions and chambers of commerce – are another way to promote local re-investment.
One of my friends has been active politically for many years both locally and nationally. I asked them why they never took up the opportunity to head to Washington, DC when the chance presented itself. They said they have always known that you get more done on your street than on a highway.
It’s time to think big by thinking small. Let’s recruit within our communities for development like we do outside opportunities. What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments.
Glenn Kass and Catch Driver Marketing thinks small is the new big. Learn more at www.catchdriver.com. You can also “like” www.facebook.com/catchdrivermarketing, “follow” www.twitter.com/CatchDriverMktg or “watch” www.youtube.com/catchdrivermarketing.