Small business is the backbone of our local economy |

Small business is the backbone of our local economy

Nevada County is not only blessed with a beautiful environment, recreational opportunities, and a well-educated population; we also keep much of our wealth here in the county.

The technology, farming, winery industries based in Nevada County export their products far and wide.

Tourists visit our county year-round and spend their dollars here.

Plus, and this is important, many people retire in Nevada County who come here from throughout the United States for the quality of life this area offers to all of its citizens.

I don’t object to paying taxes. What I object to is my tax dollars being wasted.

The most important contributor to the local economy is small business. Small businesses employ more people than any other employment base.

Retirees often bring to the county a middle-class income, qualify for Social Security and/or Medicare that they have paid into for much of their working lives; and might even have a “nest-egg” of investment income that assists them in maintaining a middle-class lifestyle.

In addition, there are longtime residents who choose to spend their retirement years here as well.

The mix of new and old local retired citizens contributes positively to the unique character and the economy of our community.

Plus, local industry and tourism provide jobs for working families.

Quality public schools round out a very desirable community for all residents.

These components — working families, tourism and retirees — all support local businesses.

These businesses in turn must be supported by an effective government that can assist in providing access to business districts, a tax structure that encourages local spending and a forward-looking vision that will designate areas for responsible development, attract new employers, and offer functional public facilities.

Government is responsible for maintenance of streets and sidewalks, parks and playgrounds, and making sure our neighborhoods are safe and our surroundings won’t burn down.

These are some of the qualities my wife and I chose in deciding where we would retire.

Small businesses, including restaurants, some grocery stores, insurance brokers, entrepreneurs, plumbers, landscapers, propane truck drivers, health care workers, hotel/motel workers, building contractors, along with public employees like teachers, firefighters, social workers, water company employees, all contribute to a robust local economy.

We are interdependent and we do circulate our dollars in our county. We can do better. We can slow the seepage of retail dollars “down-the-hill” to Auburn, Roseville or Yuba City by being price competitive and providing excellent service.

But that’s not all that needs to happen.

As consumers we need to understand the connection between our spending dollars locally and how that translates to maintaining a level of public services that often times are taken for granted.

Buying Local is more than a slogan. It translates to well-maintained parks and playgrounds, clean streets and sidewalks, sufficient police and fire protection, and a stronger magnet for businesses looking to locate here and tourists to visit. An attractive environment benefits everyone.

Business has to offer a variety of products at competitive prices, and consumers need to know that the products they need are available locally.

Government must do its part to support these efforts. Government requires revenue (taxes) to function effectively and responsibly.

I don’t object to paying taxes.

What I object to is my tax dollars being wasted. I object to my tax dollars supporting the operation and maintenance of a military style MRAP vehicle.

I object to spending thousands of dollars on parking lots that can’t be accessed by vehicles; I object to contracting out public jobs to private out-of-state companies when local residents can fulfill those responsibilities more efficiently and cost effectively.

Grass Valley is our home. We are here for the quality of life, the environment, the variety of services, the everyday pace of living, the mix of young, middle-age and older residents, and the thoughtfulness of the citizenry.

By working together, we can maintain this beautiful corner of California.

Jim Firth is a candidate for the Grass Valley City Council.

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