Home Foreclosures Up, County Makes Bold Move to Spur Jobs

by lewwaters

Depression 2As Democrats still smarting from the overwhelming defeat of Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt last year bellyache at bold moves made by the conservative majority on the Commission to spur some job growth, the Lazy C runs an article informing us that home foreclosures in our County have increased 65%.

Obviously, what was tried by the former Democrat majority over the last four years was not working as more and more we see middle class families losing their homes as they cannot afford to make their mortgage payments.

The Lazy C has been trying to paint a rosy picture of our local economy for some time, telling us home values are increasing, new home building is increasing, foreclosures were down and how the County is on the mend.

Apparently, their claims are somewhat exaggerated as we read May foreclosures rose by nearly 100 over May 2012, or 65%, explained by one ‘expert’ as,

“part of a damburst of foreclosures that were tied up last year by negotiations for a $25 billion settlement between 49 state attorneys general and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers.”

While that might have some effect on so many foreclosures, I believe the reality lies in many claims we have seen sneak into the pages of the Lazy C over the years.

2% decrease in county jobless rate a mirage on March 8, 2011.

Lower jobless rate fails to reflect reality from March 24, 2011.

County sees no progress on joblessness on January 24, 2012.

Jobless pain will intensify on April 4, 2012.

Seasonal influences aside, Clark County added only 100 jobs in September on October 23, 2012.

And just days ago, 21,000 in Clark County look for work where we read, “Jobless rate 10%; underemployment rate likely 20%.”

In a nutshell, our local economy is not producing jobs, in part because we have allowed ourselves to become too dependent on Portland, Oregon, immediately to our south.

Enter the Clark County Board of Commissioners voting in a bold move proposed by recently elected Commissioner David Madore, Clark County waives fees; jobs may develop, a “plan to eliminate all traffic impact and permit fees for nonresidential development was approved Tuesday by a 2-1 vote,” Commissioner Steve Stuart, the sole Democrat being the naysayer.

Stuart, who has sat on the County Commission throughout this Great Recession, is of the taker mentality that believes gouging businesses and citizens will keep the coffers full, unable to see that our four straight years of double digit unemployment has done just the opposite and has discouraged any meaningful job creation in the county.

What Madore proposed and found support from fellow Commissioner Tom Mielke is that by eliminating these fees, businesses that are strapped elsewhere and have wanted to move to Clark County will do so, and bring some decent jobs with them.

It is a gamble, for sure and one that Commissioner Stuart is “uncomfortable with,” preferring to keep doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result.

Commissioner Madore is hoping to see the influx of jobs and citizens returning to work will make up the difference in what Stuart sees as being lost.

I see this as similar in how previous tax cuts at the federal level spurred job growth and receipts at the treasury. Each time in the past tax receipts increased, but unfortunately, so did federal spending, negating any gain.

As is expected, Madorephobes, mostly liberal Democrats who cannot get passed their seething hatred of the man are hoping for doom & gloom, also unwilling to try a new approach, falsely believing endless entitlements will somehow spur jobs. They don’t and obviously haven’t.

Right off the bat, we see cries of “catering to special interests,” “jobs created won’t pay enough,” and of course, idiotic rants like that of far leftist 49th Legislative District Rep. Jim Moeller (D. Portland/Vancouver),

“Thank you David Madore for putting another nail (hopefully, the final one) in the coffin of supply-side or “trickle-down” (Hightower calls it “tinkle-down”) economics! When it fails (and it will because we are barely climbing out of the greatest recession since the great depression) we may finally see the end to this economic madness in Clark County!”

Moeller, who more and more I see as communist to the core, prefers to burden the struggling middle class with high tolls, increased gas tax and increased license fees to pay for a bloated light rail project voters have repeatedly rejected and supports just about every possible drain on middle class paychecks, falsely expecting that to lift the middle class out of this economic quagmire he, as a 6 term legislator helped put us in.

Acknowledging this is a gamble, an experiment, Commissioner Mielke did introduce an amendment allowing for an immediate termination of the waiver should it be seen to not be working as hoped. Also a good move, in my estimation.

Addressing those who scoff at the prospect of not all jobs created being high wage jobs, Mielke added, “If you don’t have a job, there’s no such thing as a bad job,” bringing the ridicule of naysayers who would rather remain stuck trying the same old thing again and again.

Mielke correctly points to the historical necessity of people starting over during such deep economic troubles, as the generation of the Great Depression had to. It isn’t pretty, but the reality is, people must be willing to accept less, downsize and start over in their lives after such troubling times.

Clark County Washington has seen more than its share of troubles during this Great Recession, having now been mired in an excess of four straight years of double digit unemployment. Local Democrats see this as an opportune time to raises taxes and push for bloated mega-projects like the Columbia River Crossing light rail project, but fail to see their efforts only further burden the very struggling middle class they claim they want to help.

This move, while bold and a gamble, is very worthwhile and a good step that will hopefully see the beginnings of what Clark County has long needed, more business, more jobs and less government.

Let the naysayers bray, let’s do what has to be done to get our people moving again and build.

Joblessness and home foreclosures will not end on their own. Only putting people back to work will end it.

9 Comments to “Home Foreclosures Up, County Makes Bold Move to Spur Jobs”

  1. I certainly hope we see something positive happen in our county and soon. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who just found out 2 houses on their street alone were put on the market as a short sale…yet another bit of evidence that property values are still way below what they were, say…four or five years ago and the families were forced out of their debt burden rather than starve to death.

    It bothers me to no end knowing if our homes ever return to the property values of four-plus years ago…just what kind of impact and how the cost of property taxes will be to the average homeowner. We’ve got a long ways to go.


  2. Government $pending $$ we don’t have for projects and government agency $pending we don’t need triggered the great recession in the first place. All through this recession, government benefits have grown in spite of the dire straits faced by the private sector. Clark County government under Commissioner Stuart continued to pay 100% of employee insurance premiums throughout the recession, and added holidays to boot.
    The proposed CRC bridge too low with unnecessary light rail pushed by Commissioner Stuart since 2005 is a prime example of borrowing $Billions for a project that includes unnecessary light rail. The current mass transit bus use doesn’t come close to justifying costly transit options like light rail. Grossly inflated rosy predictions about future “need” were used to justify borrowing for the CRC debt bomb.
    Citizens concerned about it should contact their state legislators and Congressional Rep. Herrera-Beutler. The WA governor continues to push the CRC debt bomb, in spite of the fact Clark County citizens rejected the proposed light rail component of the CRC in Nov. 2012 as well as 3 flawed bridge designs and financial irregularities. For details, http://www.crcfacts.info is a good resource.


  3. Here’s the thing, Molehill: if you think your bad enough, what say YOU run for commissioner?


  4. Lew I’m not sure if waiving fees is the right way to go.But I guess we will see.I have always thought that making the permit process easier and more fair and fluid was the way to go.Also put any fees on a real life scale.Let builders and developers share and split any costs.As it was if I were building a commercial bldg. and my impact fee was say 20k and one block up the street another builder was building the same foot print he would have to pay the same 20k as me.The traffic impact could not possibly be double.So why not split the fee at say 15k for each builder.We brought this up to the county several years ago and we were told to each of pay the same 20k.It just does not make sense to do it like that.


  5. And so it begins…

    My concerns are coming to light –

    We just received our 2013 Tax Assessment in the mail. Our property tax value just jumped $20,000.00 for a basic 4 bedroom,1 1/2 bath 70’s-style ranch home on a 10,000 square foot lot.




  6. None of us know, Tim and that is why I am glad they included a clause to immediately stop it if need be.

    But one thing for sure, what has been being tried has not worked, so I think this is worthwhile to at least try.

    We have to start doing something differently than it has been. It may take a while and who knows, it may end up being modified to what you prefer.

    And I also agree, any fees must be fair, affordable and equitable and is also why I disagreed when he City of Vancouver gave Elie Kassab the over $1.1 Million tax abatement to build one of his high density apartment complexes near where they hope to run light rail.


  7. Yep, funny thing about property taxes here in Clark County – they go up when property values go up, and way up when property values go down. Apparently everybody gets to tighten their belt EXCEPT government.


  8. I am willing to see how this works.Which really doesn’t matter because it has been done.And I agree Lew,Kassab should never have gotten the breaks he got.But that has been the history of the City.They did the same for Angelo on his condos at Esther Short Park.And deal they gave Arch Miller on the old barracks buildings.Like I said it has been the history in this town.If you remember we the tax payers paid for the Marshall house restaurant years ago.I could go on but it just upsets me.All this is why I say get rid of the old boy network and start with everyone associated with Identity Clark County.


  9. Every dollar the government spends is a dollar taken from the private sector. Every dollar borrowed by government is also a dollar not available to the private sector. The government produces nothing of value. The government squanders what it spends. Value and wealth (for all) is only created in the private sector.

    Keynesian economics is popular with the Democrats and big government types because it (falsely) promises “growth” while spending money that the government doesn’t have. Keynes theories about government spending and employment were and are wrong. Even worse, modern Keynesians have distorted the little that Keynes got right, further driving our economy into the ground.

    Less government and more private sector economic activity is what we need. Government spending only impoverishes us all.


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