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Issues & Priorities

Economic Development

Working together to get things done

60,000 people leave Pierce County every day. More and more people are choosing to live here but can’t find the jobs that they are trained for. We have to change this dynamic and work toward becoming the leader in the South Sound by developing a work environment that will grow our economy. The importance of working collaboratively and cohesively between City and County governments is more important now than ever before. In these lean times our governments must break down silos, plan together, and leverage resources to make the most of diminishing revenue. We also must capitalize on existing assets and showcase the benefits of living in Pierce County. 

For example, Pierce County should be a leader in its support of Joint Base Lewis McCord. JBLM is the 3rd largest employer in the State of Washington with 55,000 employees, and over $3.2B in payroll annually. But Washington State is currently NOT securing major contracts with local contractors and businesses. Pierce County needs to be more actively involved at increasing opportunities to ensure more of the $2.4B to be spent at JBLM is contracted to local industry. 

The Port of Tacoma, including Fredrickson, is another major economic driver in Pierce County. One of the largest ports in North America, Port activities account for more than 43,000 jobs in Pierce County and contribute more that $90 million each year in state and local taxes. Pierce County can support the Port by jointly working with the Port through interlocal agreements to cooperatively share and leverage resources; to develop joint environmental goals that strive to protect land, water and air; and to assist is securing funding to improve freight mobility. 

Pierce County needs to be a resource for our business community to ensure that we have a business friendly environment and that they find success in their business. We need to determine ways to better support business through efficiency in licensing, reporting, and permitting. The County also needs to help business capitalize on funding opportunities and tax exemptions from the State in areas such as the Aerospace Industry, Renewable Energy/Green Industries, Main Street projects (small businesses), and International Services.

But that is not enough. We must determine what the businesses and industries of the future will be and work toward bringing them here. We do that making sure we have the workforce that they are looking for. We do that by directing our new and current workers into our education institutions, workforce development agencies and apprentice programs and give them the supports they need to be successful.