The Journal’s View: Wishing for sustained, steady growth in the new year
~December 19th, 2019
As we close out yet another year of consistent economic growth in the Inland Northwest, we look forward with wishes for continued prosperity in the coming year.
Let’s hope that if there’s any slowdown in this decade-long, extended run of economic success, it still leaves room for sustainable growth while allowing the community to catch its breath and increase its focus on ongoing needs and challenges.
While we recognize homelessness as one of Spokane’s more challenging issues with no simple answers, we wish for some progress toward reducing homelessness here while enhancing public safety and supporting downtown-core businesses most affected by it.
With the likes of Amazon expected to open its fulfillment center and anticipated expansion of the mission of Fairchild Air Force Base, it will put added pressure on the supply of obtainable housing. That will call for creative solutions to encourage housing developments that working people can afford. One such solution would to be reduce restraints of condominium regulations that, in essence, limit the condominium market to upper-income buyers currently.
Speaking of working people, we wish for continued emphasis by schools and workforce development entities to help supply skilled workers to fill openings for professional and skilled trade jobs to keep our economy rolling.
We also wish for continued growth and success of health sciences education and programs, highlighted by two medical schools here, with the goal of expanding accessible care locally and regionally and establishing Spokane as a center for medical research.
It may take more than best wishes to work out our transportation funding issues. In the coming year, we may need to brace for a fight to retain what we’ve already won in regard to the North Spokane Corridor funding. We also hope to ensure that already approved Spokane Transit Authority projects are secure. And, depending on the fate of I-976, we may need to find new ways to augment funding for planned city street maintenance.
We wish for progress on securing sustainable economic development funding for the Spokane region and the restraint to use such funding wisely to help keep Spokane competitive with its neighbors across the Idaho border.
We wish for the city leadership to work in the dual spirit of collaboration and compromise to find the best solutions for everyone. That also goes for the state leadership.
While we’re at it, let’s wish for Boeing Co. to meet the requirements it needs to fulfill to get the 737 Max planes in the air again, which also will benefit Inland Northwest parts suppliers. Then, perhaps we can push again to ensure that Spokane has a role in manufacturing Boeing’s next plane.
We hope for a resolution to international trade disputes, which will benefit many of our regional grain and fruit farmers, and also could help extend retail sales growth here at home.
Again, with many indicators still pointing to another, albeit slower, year of sustained growth for the Spokane area economy in 2020, we wish all of our faithful readers a prosperous new year.