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Economic development - Usha Reddi

By Corene Brisendine

To what extent should the city link economic development incentives to specific wage levels, and what should those wage levels be?

If the City is providing economic development incentives then those businesses should strongly be encouraged to create high paying jobs. I believe the City of Manhattan is heading in the right direction. CivicsPlus and Prathistha will be offering mostly high paying jobs that meet or exceed the Living Wage. Job opportunities with high wages will assist people off of programs like WIC, free and reduced lunches and other government-funded programs. Although, the Living Wage is currently set at $12.20, I don’t believe there should be a set wage. Some businesses may start with a lower wage and increase it after more education or training. Some businesses may want to start at a higher wage but might settle for the Living Wage instead. If businesses want to increase productivity, retain employees, have a strong work force it would be in their best interest to pay well for those assets. This will save taxpayers money in the long run by sustaining our economy with a low unemployment rate and more incoming revenue.

What kinds of economic development are most important to the city?

The best economic development for the City of Manhattan would be businesses that can be established here permanently. I prefer locally owned businesses that offer job opportunities to our residents. Our growth needs to be well managed and planned. More diversity in businesses would keep Manhattan interesting and would generate more revenue. Some areas I think we should try to attract are technology-based businesses, entertainment establishments for all age brackets, and affordable daycare providers.

Should the city use tax abatements to bring businesses to Manhattan?

Yes, the city should use tax abatements to attract businesses to Manhattan. These abatements/incentives are given based on a variety of factors such as number of new jobs created, average wage of new jobs being created, or capital investment of the business. I support the city using tax abatements so long as there are benchmarks and accountability factors in place to maintain established goals. There should be the option of removing incentives if certain benchmarks are not being met within a given timeframe. Also, only businesses that fit into the fabric of Manhattan and have strong potential to generate revenue, without being a burden to the City, should be considered. I prefer giving tax incentives to businesses that enhance the Manhattan community but not take away from our local businesses.

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