Thursday, June 14, 2012

What the Transportation Investment Act could do for Black Community Economic Development

The Transportation Investment Act (TIA) is the perfect opportunity for Black businesses to reposition themselves from being seen as "wards of the city" and/or worse enterprises that take from the system--to businesses that make an economic contribution and support community development.

The Black community deserves community development over the life of this tax not just transportation because we got transportation that is not the need of the Black community!! We need individual and collective opportunities and community improvements. Black businesses are the tools to execute that opportunity and help to make those improvements.

To describe this new position is simple--Black businesses are economic assets and chief proponents for Black community economic development. As Dr. Danny Boston, president of EuQuant most recently said: "One of the most effective strategies for reducing Black unemployment is to support black-owned businesses. This is because two out of every three workers employed by those businesses are Black. In fact, Black businesses can achieve employment outcomes that economic growth policy cannot."

Black-owned businesses operate in neighborhoods that are 44% Black and 35% of them operate in high poverty areas. Currently, Black-owned businesses in Metro Atlanta employ more than 52,000 persons and stimulate the employment of an additional 166,000 persons.

These businesses are necessary to provide for and continue the development of the Black community. Black businesses bring a Community Return on Investment through job creation, taxes, benefits, etc. We are in fact, the employer of last resort for some in our communities because we do hire people, for assorted reasons, with less than perfect credentials and support organizations that do not measure up to United Way standards.

It is in the best interests of those who profess to be the leaders of the community, to incorporate and utilize the Black business community to help overcome a number of the other community issues related to the transportation concerns, namely: housing, good salaries, public safety, education, and community pride!

Therefore, we all need to stop asking for and referring to contracts as a hand out to overcome past discrimination practices and form a partnership with both sides being recognized and valued. Let's lose it's the right thing to do and other references to the benevolence of social conscience. Local Black communities need its enterprises to be successful in order for TIA to reach its full potential! Therefore, TIA needs to utilize Black businesses "by design".

TIA will most likely recognize some type of plan to include minority contracting and employment training. However, without an agreement for the long range benefit for our community and a method to achieve it we will be in the same position we were before the tax. If there is a dependency factor it is that the Black community has, and still does, rely heavily on external funds for support. If the current "leaders" hold true to historical paths, they will enthusiastically accommodate --external funds through contracting and employment training. With these external funds, from contracts, Black businesses can in-turn increase their involvements and support for the economic improvement of their communities. Additionally, through this economic imperative partnership with the larger community the businesses will grow and hire more people. In effect, this partnership would "charge-the-pump" for designing a strategy for a more sustainable Black community over time and for bringing benefit to the entire metro area.

Using the simple economic theory that every dollar spent with Black business has greater potential for circulation within the Black community than whose businesses lie outside of it. It becomes obvious that what we need to cause with a TIA partnership are the economic actions that occur when the dollar changes from hand to hand in the Black community. That circulation offers the potential for other aspects of the Black community to create jobs not just the businesses. Research has shown that every $1M spent with Black businesses creates 10 jobs with 6 going to Blacks. If, for example, 5% more were spent with Black businesses within the region they would create approx. 24,000 jobs with approximately 16,000 of the employees being Black. Also, Black people give proportionately more of their resources to charity than other groups. And Black non-profits, in-turn, also employ people while sharing their gifts and graces. These two efforts alone turn the dollar over more than once in the Black community and cause the stimulation of other economic activities. Now that is community economic development!

"Uncle Joe" Hudson
Your unabased supporter of Black business.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think so... With transportation investment the economic development not decrease...

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