ICYMI: Aguilar Publishes Op-ed in the San Bernardino Sun on Economic Plan for the Region
October 8, 2014
San Bernardino, CA – Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, Democratic candidate for Congress in California’s 31st district, published an op-ed in the San Bernardino Sun over the weekend discussing his comprehensive approach to rebuilding the economy in San Bernardino County.
The full op-ed can be seen here or read below:
Bringing San Bernardino County Back
By Pete Aguilar
Almost every community in the country took an economic hit during the “Great Recession” in 2008 and 2009. Since then, we have come a long way in rebuilding, but San Bernardino County, which was especially hard hit, has struggled to bounce back at the same rate as other areas.
The national unemployment rate has fallen below 7 percent, but some of our cities are still facing double-digit unemployment. Families are still struggling to make ends meet, send their kids to school and save a little for retirement.
In order to bring San Bernardino County back, and get the economy moving forward again, we need a comprehensive plan for both short- and long-term job creation and economic growth.
San Bernardino County is the gateway for the goods that come through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and move east to other parts of our country. By investing in our local infrastructure, we can create good-paying jobs in the short term and also put us on a path to sustained growth in the long term.
The businesses that are looking to invest in the Inland Empire and capitalize on our workforce need to know that we have the infrastructure necessary to support them. By fixing our roads, bridges and highways, we will continue to see Fortune 100 companies like Amazon, which just announced its third warehouse in the county, picking this region as the place they want to do business.
These companies are hiring workers for good-paying, middle-class jobs that include stock options and educational reimbursements. This is one aspect of the long-term growth we need.
Two other areas where we can make strategic investments that will lead to sustained economic growth are small businesses and renewable energy.
Small businesses in San Bernardino County were devastated by the economic downturn, but no one bails out the corner coffee shop or local hair salon when the economy turns upside down. But while these small businesses are trying to create jobs in our community, they are competing with huge multinational corporations that are shipping jobs overseas and getting tax breaks. We need to shift our priorities and give the tax breaks to the local, small businesses who are investing here at home.
Renewable energy is also a tremendous opportunity to get San Bernardino County on the cutting edge of technology. Climate change is a serious issue, but it can also be an economic opportunity. By making investments in clean energy sources and giving tax breaks to companies that are supporting the transition to clean energy, we can create jobs, promote sustainability and improve the air quality in our region.
Nationally, we also need to raise the minimum wage. No one who works full time in this country should be living in poverty, and those who are aspiring to join the middle class need a shot at getting ahead.
And let’s pass equal-pay legislation because women deserve equal pay for equal work. It’s that simple.
Putting San Bernardino County on a continued path to economic growth is going to take a comprehensive approach that invests in diverse sectors of our economy while prioritizing future industries and the middle class. If we take action now we can bring San Bernardino back.
Pete Aguilar is mayor of Redlands and a candidate for California’s 31st Congressional District.