Letter to the editor: Westmoreland’s ‘death spiral’
The famous line from “Field of Dreams” is “If you build it, they will come.” At the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce State of the County luncheon Jan. 10, County Commissioner Chuck Anderson said that “our county is in a death spiral” regarding population growth.
Have the commissioners done their due diligence to attract employers? Their $309,000 Reimagining Our Westmoreland plan does not affix a cost to implement and says very little regarding jobs. One aspect calls for re-engineering neighborhoods with diversity (nonwhites vote 72 percent Democrat) and creating diversity welcoming committees.
The Pew Charitable Trusts recently published articles titled “Population Growth Doesn’t Equal Wage Growth in These Cities” and “The Mystery of Pittsburgh: How Some Shrinking Cities Are Thriving in the New Economy.” I ask, how is this possible in light of our commissioners’ dire forecast? Easy: Quantity doesn’t equal quality. The articles highlight that recruiting employers that pay higher wages is far more important than adding population and minimum-wage jobs and costly social services that follow.
The Foundation for Economic Education, using Census Bureau data, estimates that hundreds of thousands of Americans are leaving high-tax states like neighboring New York and New Jersey. Shouldn’t we have used that $309,000 to advertise in high-tax states to recruit employers and retirees? That would’ve been money well spent.
In 2005, we had a $60 million reserve fund. Today, we have $5 million and a $44 million loan. Have we well-spent any of it? There are many ways to recruit employers or shrink to greatness without destroying the culture of Westmoreland.