County Executive Candidate Vince Horrigan recently outlined his Growing Business Initiative which focuses on looking first to existing businesses for job growth.
"Unfortunately, we have plenty of empty buildings and space in our county that are waiting for occupants. However, high taxes create a barrier for new businesses to relocate to Chautauqua County. That is why we need to focus on lean government initiatives which will stabilize our tax levy while creating competitive advantage opportunities for those businesses that are already established in our County and poised for growth," Horrigan said.
Horrigan said the Growing Business Initiative will deliver short-term job growth, while creating momentum and tax base for attracting new businesses to the county in the long term. Horrigan said he will meet with officials from area businesses, education and regional economic development agencies to identify the top 200 existing businesses set for growth and new jobs. The group will then accelerate their growth with IDA, academic and private sector resources to create new opportunities for job growth.
"I believe that a practical approach is the best way to lead economic development in the near term," Horrigan said. "As County Executive, my focus will be to make Chautauqua County a fertile ground for existing businesses to grow and create new jobs. One example is to capitalize on the Governor's "Start Up NY" initiative by encouraging new manufacturing in supply chain products used by our existing businesses. That market is already here with the parent business allowing new investment capital to join in supplier product manufacturing. It's about leveraging our existing businesses to lure investment to the area while making our local business more competitive, thereby spurring growth and creating new jobs. As County Executive, I will build from the inside to create momentum which will grow our tax base, jobs and economic security, in order to set the stage for longer term, outside business investment in Chautauqua County."
Horrigan said job growth in Chautauqua County must also include filling the more than 3,400 jobs the state Labor Department projects to be open over the next five years as older workers retire.
"Therefore, we must ensure that our young adults who are entering the workforce have the education, skills, motivation and work ethic to succeed in supporting our businesses. That is why our focus also needs to be on job readiness training initiatives in order to provide the best possible workforce to ensure our businesses have the human resources they need for business success. The current initiatives of the Education Coalition, "Dream it Do It" and the Employability Coalition are the vehicles to help guide county-wide efforts in workforce development. I fully support these initiatives," Horrigan said.
Maintaining and improving infrastructure is the third component of Horrigan's Growing Business Initiative.
"That is a fundamental part of attracting new business in the longer term," Horrigan said. "This is an effort that needs countywide leadership. That is why I support the north county water district, which is critical to maintaining and attracting so many businesses including food processing. It's also why I support the Chautauqua Lake comprehensive sewer project and Lake Erie dredging efforts to maintain and improve the quality of our lakes, which are vital to commercial and tourism-related economic growth."
"As our national economy shows signs of life, we need a comprehensive Chautauqua County strategy which is realistic, practical and focuses on the short term as well as the long term. The responsibility for economic development in Chautauqua County rests squarely on the shoulders of the County Executive. That is why the comprehensive nature of my leadership plan includes lean government, a job ready workforce, growing existing businesses and infrastructure investment."