This is an open letter to the voters in Ravalli County, to anyone running for office, all elected officials, and specifically to the members of the StEP committee. I applaud your efforts to create jobs in Ravalli County. But in your efforts to create jobs you need to keep a few things in mind.
1) The government cannot create jobs. Only private individuals exploiting natural resources make longterm viable jobs. People extracting natural resources and producing new goods are the true source of wealth of a county, not the service industry, not the medical industry, not the tourist industry, not the entertainment industry, not the retirement industry, not corporations, and definitely not the government. It is individuals working the land, logging the forests, mining the ore deposits, and turning these raw materials into goods to be sold and used by us, that are the backbone upon which every other job exists. It is the hard work and great efficiency of these individuals that allows everyone else to even have a job not in these core fields. Let us not forget that just a hundred years ago the vast majority of Americans were employed in these essential fields.
2) The hope for a profit is the major motivation for anyone creating any job. Even jobs created to lose money are done to create a profit in another possibly unrelated area. For example, Christians do mission works to create rewards (profits) in heaven. Therefore profits must be available for jobs to be created, the more profits the more and better paying the jobs.
3) Government regulations do not create jobs, they only destroy jobs. Favor one industry and you cost jobs in another. Zone an area and you limit the land available for a particular industry, driving up land costs due to an artificial shortage, resulting in less businesses, less jobs! More environmental regulations means more costs, less jobs (not that I am against environmental regulations, just unnecessary ones)! More workplace regulations, more cost, less jobs! More taxes, more costs, less jobs! Get the picture?
Members of the StEP committee, please keep these comments in mind as you draft your proposals. Elected officials, as you draft legislation please use these principles to draft laws that promote business, not drive it away, especially natural resource based businesses. Those running for elected office, use these principles as the basis of your campaign and I for one will vote for you, and then work toward fulfilling your promises if you want me to vote for you come reelection. And finally voters, if you really want good paying jobs, use these principles to decide who you will vote for.