Economic Development: Jobs, Businesses and Workers
The rights of workers and the needs of small businesses are often portrayed as being at odds, but why? Many of us have both workers and small business owners in our families. Many workers hope to own their own business one day, and regardless of our own job, we are proud when the people we know succeed in the career they want. But when you read news articles about efforts to raise the minimum wage or create stable, consistent schedules for workers, it sometimes seems like what is good for one group would be bad for the other. The best jobs and the best places to work are often at local businesses that are a part of the community they exist in. We need to create policies that will bring together both groups so our city can succeed together.
The answer is to take a look at the taxes being places on small businesses by the city (taxes that are often used to pay for projects that no one wants, never take off, or both) and start cutting them back. Creating incentives for building owners to keep their storefronts occupied could help businesses get through slumps caused by short-term issues like construction, so that they can provide the jobs that our citizens want. Small businesses can’t act as a piggy bank for the city and pay their workers a fair wage at the same time, and our workers are more important.
Working with local businesses has been the backbone of Stella Padilla’s work in 2016. Some residents may remember her from the beauty shop, Monique’s, she owned in the country club neighborhood. She fought the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project and participated in the lawsuit against this project because ART threatens many businesses along our main corridor, especially local stores. She worked with food truck owners and workers to make sure they had their voice heard when the city council voted to change regulations about where they can operate. These efforts have earned her the trust of many in the small business community, so she is in the best position to work with both workers and businesses.