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Bill Stewart

Deep cuts to K-12 and higher education.

Reductions or elimination of an array of social service programs ranging from child care and housing to basic health insurance and mental health services.

Unfunded workforce training programs.

Elimination of tax incentives for business.

These are only a small sample of what is pending or completed as federal and state lawmakers take on budgets unsustainable in the prolonged economic downturn. The common denominator for us? Kitsap County residents, as with everyone else in Washington, will feel it. read more »

 

When Profile Composites CEO Geoff Wood announced last month his intent to locate R&D and manufacturing operations in Kitsap County, it signaled some important breakthroughs for economic development on the Kitsap Peninsula:

  • A new manufacturing business expected to employ up to 200 over the next five years;
  • A training and hiring preference for disabled persons, particularly veterans;
  • Product development and manufacturing utilizing composite materials;
  • Co-location of a partner R&D company based in Ohio;
  • Potential emergence of a new industry cluster on the Peninsula.

Wood’s decision to locate here is largely due read more »

 

Washingtonians left a clear message when the votes were counted in the fall election: Cut the budget to deal with projected state revenue shortfalls; we have no appetite for tax increases to save programs.

Following the mid-December release of the governor’s proposed budget for the next two years, the legislature convenes Jan. 11 for what will surely be a grueling process to save more than $5 billion as it creates the next biennial budget. read more »

 

We’ve been hearing a lot these days that the prolonged economic slowdown we are experiencing is the “new normal.”

Washington’s chief economic forecaster, Dr. Arum Raha, says it will be 2013 before employment returns to 2008 levels.

If that’s the case, then we can also assume that companies won’t be adding lots of new capacity until 2013 and beyond. Existing underutilized facility space and a fairly large regional inventory of vacant manufacturing and office properties will accommodate this three-year stretch of moderate growth. read more »

 

Although we are seeing some gains in employment and other economic indicators on the Kitsap Peninsula, persistent sluggishness in the regional economy also is whittling away at our competitiveness for new investment from outside companies as well as employer retention.

On the heels of releasing their second quarter industrial market statistics for Central Puget Sound (excludes Kitsap), commercial/industrial brokerage CB Richard Ellis is contacting businesses here and elsewhere in the region about the great deals to be had by moving to vacant facilities in King and Pierce counties. read more »

 

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance has joined with our colleagues in Clallam, Jefferson and Mason counties to take on the acute problem of access to capital for businesses.

In March the newly formed Olympic Finance Development Authority (OFDA) filed its Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s Office. A charter board of directors and a consultant are completing the business plan and developing proposals for capitalizing a revolving loan fund, as well as managing portfolios and making new loans from other existing funds that are too small to stand on their own. read more »

 

In a previous column (KPBJ October, 2009) I solicited your thoughts about what economic development strategies we should be deploying that will lead toward the kind of Kitsap future most important to you and your family.

At least one reader suggests that a focus on secondary education as an economic development stimulus should be pursued. read more »

 

Westbury, Inc. — a developer of safety and security barrier systems for use on airport tarmacs, theme parks and a variety of other outdoor installations — will be establishing its first manufacturing plant on the Kitsap Peninsula before year-end. The company was founded in Seattle in 2004, and over the next two years it anticipates employing more than 100 persons as the company transitions from product development to sales and production. read more »

 

For months now I’ve been writing about some of the opportunities — and a few challenges — for retaining and growing a healthy local economy: the importance of military installations and defense contracting; state tax incentives for local businesses; our competitive position with neighboring states to attract investment and new jobs; the continuous need to improve the business climate so start-ups can succeed; and other related topics. read more »

 
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