Browsing Tag: economic development

    Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea?
    Articles, Blog

    Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea?

    August 22, 2019


    There’s a movement in cities across the
    country to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. One of the most prominent advocates
    is former labor secretary Robert Reich who thinks that $15 per
    hour should be the minimum wage for the entire country, this is a bad idea. Here are three reasons why,
    first of all, it would kill jobs. One of the basic lessons of economics is
    that when the price of something goes up, people buy less of it, so, if the price of pumpkin lattes rises you
    can expect consumers to buy fewer of them. This law of demand also
    effects the market for low-skilled workers,
    raising the minimum wage means a higher cost of employing each worker which makes
    workers less affordable than before. Our coffee shop won’t keep a worker at
    a mandated $15 per hour if that worker’s efforts only result in $7.25
    per hour in added revenue. Over the course of the year, a shop
    that keeps such a worker full-time would lose $15,500, so instead,
    it would eliminate that job and evidence shows that employers in fact do
    respond in this way to minimum wage hikes. Recent research by economists
    Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither finds that 1.4 million jobs
    were destroyed in the late 2000s when the minimum wage rose across all 50 states
    by an average of nearly 30%, and worse, those job losses were probably suffered
    by the people who need jobs the most. This fact brings us to reason number 2, the minimum wage actually hurts
    the people we most want to help. When the minimum wage rises, the workers
    fired first and the ones hired last are those who employers judge to be
    the least productive, the inner city teen from the lousy school district or
    the immigrant with poor English will be fired before the suburban American
    teen from the excellent school district. So those who are most disadvantaged, tend to suffer the most job losses, this
    reality is compounded by the fact that raising the minimum wage causes
    more competition for jobs. A supermarket job that once paid $8 per
    hour draws more applicants when it pays $15 per hour, applicants who include
    retirees, and people with higher education who reenter the workforce only
    because of the higher wage. Because these people often have more
    skills, they squeeze out immigrants and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who
    are likely more desperate for the jobs, and certainly more desperate
    to gain job experience. The third reason is that minimum
    wage hikes aren’t necessary to give deserving workers raises. 96% of American workers today earn wages
    higher than the current minimum wage, which proves that employers don’t just
    pay the minimum that they’re obliged to pay by law. Employers respond to the value
    that each employee adds, so they can retain the best talent. It’s expensive to train new employees and businesses don’t wanna lose good
    workers to their competitors, so they raise worker pay voluntarily as
    employees gain more skills and experience. But when government imposes such
    raises by hiking the minimum wage, some of the least experienced workers
    will not only lose their current jobs, they’ll find it incredibly
    hard to find other jobs. In essence, the minimum wage cuts off
    the first rung on the employment ladder. And it’s that first, lowest paying rung,
    that provides the skills and experience workers need to
    reach the next rung, and to continue climbing their
    way to a better life.

    The real reason streetcars are making a comeback
    Articles, Blog

    The real reason streetcars are making a comeback

    August 19, 2019


    This is Washington, DC’s Streetcar. It runs through 2.2 miles of mixed traffic
    in the United States capitol. And it was once part of an ambitious 37 mile
    streetcar network for the city. But those plans have changed drastically. The project was delivered 7 years past its
    deadline and tens of million dollars over budget. The idea was to increase mobility for residents
    while revitalizing an economically depressed area of the city… But it’s had trouble along the way….. Similar problems sprung up in Atlanta and
    Salt Lake City too. Still, there’s a massive resurgence of streetcars
    underway. Since 2001, about a dozen streetcar systems
    have cropped up across the country. But why do so many cities want streetcars? The general goal is based on the idea that
    if we build more densely around our transit stations, then we’ll convince more people
    to walk around, bike around, and take transit to get work to get to school and other destinations. Streetcars are also touted for their ability
    to add a certain… je ne sais quoi to a neighborhood. You know, every city in the country even around
    the world wants to have some type of train going through their city because they see
    it as a positive, modern looking and modern feeling public transportation system. The case for building streetcars has historical
    precedent. They’ve been around since the 19th century,
    when they were first horse-driven. Later, in the 20th century, the electrical
    versions became really popular in cities. Their popularity started to fade when cities
    turned their focus to building infrastructure for buses and cars. But in the last decade or so, streetcars have
    made a comeback. There’s been a lot of excitement and enthusiasm
    about urban living and some of that comes with excitement about mass transportation. But big, sort of traditional heavy rail subway
    projects are very, very expensive. So cities look for something cheaper that
    they can do and a lot of them have come up with streetcars. The Portland Streetcar was one of the first
    in the new wave and has led the way for other cities. Its success is often cited in proposals to
    exemplify the benefits of a modern transit system. But all streetcar proposals are not created
    equal. Some have seen roaring success… While others, like in Atlanta and D.C see
    a ton of criticism The problem is that having gone for mass transit
    on the cheap you get transit that isn’t very useful for transportation. It looks nice — you have this cool shiny
    new train — but if you’re running in mixed traffic you’re gonna go as slow, or often
    times slower than a traditional bus. Aside from the slow pace, limited connectivity
    has kept commuters away in DC. I’ve been living here for 37 years and I
    like the streetcar. It’s convenient, the only thing I don’t
    like about the streetcar is that it doesn’t go far enough. I wouldn’t use the streetcar over the bus
    because the bus takes me straight to my job. Right in front of my job. The streetcar doesn’t go over the hill,
    which I didn’t think made sense, but… So if they’re not improving the commute, why
    is there a push for more streetcars? From my perspective they are almost entirely
    designed to support economic development and not increase mobility. In Portland, for instance, planners actively
    sought development adjacent to the streetcar. Our narrative was pretty development focused
    early on, to the point where people were saying the only the only reason you built the streetcar
    was for development purposes. Now that we’re carrying upwards of 16,000
    passengers a day it’s very much a mix. The system succeeded because Portland Streetcar
    worked with developers to support their plan. You have to really look at the development
    side of things. Having the rail on the ground is significantly
    important for them. To see the commitment from the city for them
    to make catalytic investments is is important. Right? We’re asking these developers to build something
    that they may not build anyway, but for the rail investment. There’s a little bit of quid pro quo there. That kind of focus on economic development
    is at the heart of other projects too. The Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, a state-of-the-art
    streetcar that will run from Astoria to Sunset Park, and has the potential to generate over
    $25 billion of economic activity for our city over 30 years. Projections aside, the Brooklyn Queens connector
    has already proven to be a contentious issue. I think one clear reason why the project has
    been advanced is, is similar to the streetcar projects being discussed around the country
    which is that there is an economic development goal in the brooklyn and queens waterfront
    by some major investors who want to improve transportation for basically the new towers
    that are being constructed along the waterfront. The motivation behind development, and its
    effects make for a messy debate. A year after its launch, D.C. is starting
    to see the development that tends to follow transit. A string of luxury apartments, restaurants
    and stores has fueled a real estate boom along H-street. There is evidence that suggests that government
    expenditures of any sort that provide a public benefit will provide a sort of a stimulus
    for development You know whether their parks, whether they’re
    investments in neighborhood retail improvement, whether they’re better sidewalks — but it doesn’t have to be a streetcar. There are many ways to attract new investment
    and the streetcar may not be the ideal one or even the right one.

    Alexander Industrial Park – Alexander Railroad Shell Building
    Articles, Blog

    Alexander Industrial Park – Alexander Railroad Shell Building

    August 12, 2019


    Welcome to the Alexander Industrial Park, located in Alexander County in the beautiful foothills of western North Carolina. The industrial park is home to Craftmaster Furniture, Liberty Reload Services, Paragon Films, and one of the state’s newest shell buildings. The Alexander Railroad Shell Building is one of North Carolina’s top sites for industries needing high-quality rail service. At 50,000 square feet, the building is expandable to 125,000 square feet, features 8-inch insulated precast concrete walls, and 24-foot clear heights. The building features 4 dock-high loading doors with additional knockouts, and one drive-in door. Interior bay spacing is 40 feet by 50 feet. Rail service is provided by Alexander Railroad Company, one of the state’s premiere short-line railroads connecting with Norfolk Southern Railroad. Noted as North Carolina’s first certified building, a complete property condition report is available. Site utilities include ample electric, water, wastewater, and natural gas. The building is within easy reach of Interstates 40 and 77, and is approximately one hour northwest of Charlotte, only about 60 miles from Charlotte Douglas International Airport. For more information about this opportunity, contact the Alexander County Economic Development Corporation at (828) 632-1161 or The Stump Corporation at (704) 332-3535.