This weekend I had the opportunity to go to the City of Larkspur for the 35th anniversary season of their Colorado Renaissance Festival. For eight weekends, starting in June, artisans, actors, actresses, and vendors create a festival that is not only fun and entertaining, but also brings in significant tax revenues for the city, county, and state.
Businesses, organizations, and special events are an effective means for “creating wealth”. By producing and selling items and services, these products and services are then taxed, and these taxes contribute to the general well-being of the city, county, and state where these activities take place.
So, wouldn’t it make sense to foster these types of revenue-producing activities? It seems like a no-brainer, however, leadership in local, state, and the federal government can sometimes overlook the tools that helps these businesses, organizations, and special events to thrive.
Here are some ideas, gathered by who we have talked to so far:
1. Don’t have redundant fees – if you pay a fee in one county or city, then you should not have to pay that same fee for every place that you operate – you have to pay taxes in every city and county, and that should be enough – redundant fees make it hard for small businesses to do business in other parts of the state.
2. Banks had received “bailout” money under the auspices that they were to help loan to small businesses – this is not happening. Banks should not be sitting on that money and instead aiding with small businesses loans and lines of credit so that small businesses can stabilize their cash flow during these trying economic times.
3. Government is supposed to help to ensure a “fair playing ground”. Favoritism at any level of government should not be permitted and there should be a fair playing ground for businesses to compete.
4. Spending millions of dollars in recruiting companies to come to your town only makes sense and is justified if the amount of wealth created from that activity exceeds the amount of “breaks” given to those companies. If this money was used to nurture small businesses that are already in existence (the concept of economic gardening), then you may actually be able to create more prosperity using these small businesses that don’t seek tax breaks or incentives that can come back to bite the entity giving them.
Every day we go out and decide how to vote with our dollar – arguably the most powerful means of making a difference. The summertime brings us festivals and activities that are an inherent part of Colorado and beyond. We can learn something from the success of these events, and help other areas to prosper by creating an environment where small businesses can thrive.
To the Week,