In Jan 2017 Rep. Dave Miller (R), the Wyoming House Majority Leader in a speech to the Wyoming House of Representatives stated “every non-mineral job is a further drain on our limited revenues.” (Wyoming Public Media Jan 11, 2017)
I find this statement of Majority Leader extremely offensive – but it explains the actions of your Legislature.
Let me assure you that if YOU are a:
Farmer or Rancher –
Teacher, or Coach –
Business Owner –
Police Officer, Firefighter, or First Responder –
Retail Worker, Server, Cook –
Doctor, Nurse, or Other Health Care Provider –
Cowboy, Construction Worker, Day Care Provider –
City, County, State, or Federal employee –
Veteran or Student –
Sick, Handicapped, or Disabled –
You are not a drain on Wyoming
Rep. Dave Miller (R) also stated in that 2017 speech that “Diversifying the economy will not diversify the tax base.” (Wyoming Public Media Jan 11, 2017)
This is the mindset of the Super Majority in the Wyoming Legislature.
A state official in the “Wyoming Business Report” stated that the concerns of Wyoming businesses with a handful of employees seem small in the scheme of things.
According to a Wyoming Workforce report 77% of Wyoming businesses employ 9 or fewer employees and 96.5% employ less than 50. Only 1.4% employs 100 or more.
Your Legislature and State Officials not only consider YOU a drain on resources but that your businesses and jobs are small and insignificant.
I believe that small business is the key to the future of Wyoming. Wyoming can become great only when every citizen shares in the success. Every successful small business supports and grows other small businesses.
YOUR Representative opposed the creation of a small business innovation fund. (2016 HB 61) This fund would have secured Federal matching funds to promote small businesses in Wyoming.
Relying on a few major employers or sectors is what leads to this Boom & Bust cycle. The failure of one entity or sector has a major disruption to a community, area, and the state. Very few communities can support a new employer coming in needing 100’s of workers.
We are better to support small businesses creating 1 – 5 – 10 or 20 jobs at a time. Most communities can support this. These jobs help create more jobs. This helps the entire state. Failure of a single business would not devastate a community.
Wyoming is rich in raw materials. We must quit loading these raw materials into trucks, trains, and pipelines and shipping them out of state.
We need to promote the local rancher working with the local processor to directly market their products to the world.
We need to promote businesses that turn oil into the infinite line of petrochemical products. Everything from plastics to make-up to fertilizer to… If you can think it, we should build it.
We need to promote businesses that turn coal into carbon fibers that can be then made into aircraft and automobiles, wind turbine blades, clothing, sporting goods…
We must develop and encourage business models that “adds value” and makes the final product from these raw materials.
We need to promote businesses that help those of us that are “technologically challenged” get connected, especially in the rural areas.
One way to do that would be through the creation of low interest economic development loans that target small businesses that create jobs, especially in “value added” ways. As the money is repaid it is available to be loaned out again.
We need to bring in jobs that provide a livable wage and benefits so that a single wage earner can support a family – bringing back the middle class.
We need to look to the jobs of the future – instead of yearning for the past.
We must educate and train not only our youth –but also our displaced workers – without a trained and capable workforce WE have no future.
We need to partner with Organized Labor. They have already developed the training programs that get workers ready for the jobs of today and the future. They have the ability to promote Wyoming and bring skilled workers and their families to Wyoming to start building Wyoming’s future today.
If we are going to build Wyoming and Park County we need skilled carpenters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, concrete workers, truck driver’s, steel workers, etc. Organized Labor can fill the need with trained workers. Ask any contractor if they need help.
We must require “Net Neutrality”, increase Broadband, and expand cell phone coverage. Without communication capability we can not bring in economic development.
We need to build the infrastructure for the communications growth instead of waiting for outside companies to decide when we are economically beneficial to their bottom line. The State needs to build the towers and rent access to them to all providers not just one company per area.
YOU get more options for service, better prices, and the State receives income that can be invested in further improvements and growth.
Wyoming has been here before. Following every BUST, YOUR Legislature has said we must not let this happen again. As conditions improved and they started the next BOOM, YOUR Legislature forgot about what had happened and how they said it should never happen again.
The Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW) report sets out a 20 Strategy for Wyoming. I support most of the ideas put forth in this report, even though I believe there are areas that can be done better.
To do this we need leadership that is looking forward, not backward.
We need Leaders that look for what we CAN DO, not whimper about what we Can Not Do.