Spokane Journal of Business

The Journal’s View: There’s a lot of hope for the coming year

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Our annual wish list for the new year for our business community is quite heavy, with urgent needs this time around.

With a decade of economic growth suddenly coming to a halt in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic-induced restrictions, we first wish for communitywide health and safety as we work together to turn the corner on the deadly virus. We need a community in good health if we want to rebuild our economy.

As we now anticipate the successful rollout, distribution, and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, we also hope for patience, because this battle against the virus isn’t over yet. We all need to continue to wear masks, frequently wash hands, and maintain social distance to slow the spread of the virus as we await widespread immunizations.

Just as we should unite in beating the virus, we also hope to come together to support and safely reopen businesses. We expect more from Gov. Jay Inslee in working closely with the business community to coexist with the disease as we fight it by developing safe plans that with the help of smart people in business who can show they know how to serve their customers safely.

On the federal level, we should expect and demand from Congress meaningful measures to sustain and resuscitate businesses struggling to endure the pain and sacrifice brought by closures and restrictions. We also hope for relief packages that will provide proactive solutions to protect tenants, landlords, homeowners, and lenders from a potential crisis as eviction protections expire and rents and mortgage payments become due.

Likewise, we want our state and local governments to demonstrate wisdom in their efforts to recover lost revenues, with a full realization on their parts that the bulk of state revenues come from businesses. Governments should avoid putting the cost burdens on the very businesses, business owners, and ultimately workers who have sacrificed so much for so long due to pandemic-induced restrictions.

We also hope to see that homeownership is obtainable to working people in the face of rising home prices and declining inventory. It likely will take a multipronged effort to supply the homebuilder workforce, review land-use constraints to ensure developable land is available and embrace a variety of housing types to make sure the American Dream is attainable.

In light of racial and social protests of 2020, we hope we all can look to ourselves and what we’ve learned about inequities previously unseen by many of us. The business community should take a leadership role in providing and ensuring equitable opportunities for everyone.

We hope in the new year that we rise above dysfunctional partisanship and accept that we’re all in this together. As we’ve in this space before, it will take unified efforts to defeat the virus and rebuild the next normal in our business activities and daily lives.

While we have a lot of urgent wishes as we put 2020 behind us, however, we also see hope on the horizon. We wish all Journal readers the best in the new year.

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