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THE |.S 77 WORD’ Tough Economic Times Offer Cincinnati a Path to Greatness By Jerr Benning, Cinciwwati City CouNciL ‘To PARAPHRASE MARK TWAIN, THINGS HAPPEN IN CINCINNATI LATER THAN EV- ERYWHERE ELSE. THE ECONOMIC RECESSION HIT HOME IN CINCINNATI JUST WEEKS ‘AGO WITH A FINANCE REPORT, BASED ON FIRST QUARTER TAX PAYMENTS TO THE CITY, SHOWING A §20 MILLION DEFICIT FOR THE BALANCE OF THIS YEAR AND A $40 MILLION DEFICIT FOR 2020. THIS BAO NEWS ARRIVED WITH THE REPORT OF THE CITY PENSION BOARD WHICH PREDICTED A $1 BILLION DEFICIT IN THE FUND PRO- VIDING RETIREMENT BENEFITS TO CITY WORKERS. LIKE TOD MANY OTHER GOV- ERNMENTS, BUSINESSES AND HOUSEHOLDS, THE CITV OF CINCINNATI HAD FOR TOO LONG SPENT MORE THAN WE TOOK IN EACH YEAR, AND OIG NOT SAVE FOR LONG- ‘TERM LIABILITIES AND FINANCIAL EMERGENCIES THAT HAVE NOW COME DUE, ‘We should use these rough times as an ‘opporeunity ro focus an our Furure and what is needed from ciry governmenc to ative that vision, For starters, we should acknowledge the problem. Like many fimiles, our appetce for public services is greater than our abil ity ta pay for chem. We canner continue to spend mote each year than the city takes in from tax revenue. Of primary concern should be the net loss of neaey 8,000 jobs over the previous 5-year period and the continuing cexosion of marketshare for new office, indus trial and residential projects, The renule are an alarming loss from our cax base, and show the nce for diferent economic development seracgics, We already have @ road map in place In an economic growth strategy called GO (Growth + Opportunity), Cincinnati ident fed specific development recommendations. Such a * Target business attraction, retention and workforce development initiatives to simulate growth in targeted business and induserysectrs ‘Expand private-sector investment through an expanded Catalytic Development Coxporation seructure that will concenerae development expertise and financial resouse- cexin target economic opportuni areas. * Crente a Development Authority «0 consolidate and enhance public development functions and improve positioning for new * Aggressively pureue a sretcar system ‘0 link Downtown and Uptown, the ciy’s ‘wo leading job creation acest. Ifwe act the authors ofthe rpore believe thar Cincinnati could gsin neatly 5,000 new jobs, capture a greater share of the nesely 82 _CINCIINATIPROFILE.COM 45,000 regional jobs projected ro be exeared though 2014 and capcare a nec revenie in crease of more chan $146 million Can we do i? Cincinnati has always been a city of porencal—ofien unrealized, bur with potential for greatness nonetheless “This isa geear place clive and call home. ‘Weave great neighborhoods, a strong busi- ness community, stunning nacural beauty, affordable housing anda great quality of ie. Most people who live in Cincinnati, whether ‘bora here or later aervals, love this home of ‘ours, We have trong civi pride and can cll folks whac i 0 gree about Cincinnati ‘Now, many’ city and clvie leaders are ‘working ro ensure that Cincinnati becomes ity of Realty where good ideas happen and population and business groweh reeul, And wwe should be clear—to do so will require change and sierifice. The modeca work will nor allow status quo thinking. ‘We already are blessed wich the benefice of being a Top 10 marker for Fortune 500 ‘companies, with nine such businesses hay- Ing # headquarters here. Yet, despite out _geogrephic proximity ca the U.S. population ‘centers, ransporcation assets like the Ohio River and a great airport, world class culture and arts institutions and reknowned uni- vetsities, we continue to lag in job growth Ibehind cieie char da noe march our advan- ages. ‘So we must work harder and focus on what Fe eakes to grow jobs and aerace new headquarters and business operations, ceat- ing new businetses and helping already pres- cnt busineses expand. One requirement is ‘0 make Cincinnati a regional, state and na- tional leader in etracting word-clacs profes. sional talent to come here For our high qual- ity of life and career opporcuniie, My agenda this year is to make Cincionat the Midwestem destination fr business growth and development iy: ‘Achieving taxreform thet lowers the cost of doing business here thelp make Cincinnati destination for businesses seeking to gow * Getting 2 new Board appointed to the Port Authority and finding the funding source in ‘td fr the Port to implement our 60 Cinco hati economic dovelopment strategy though site acquisition and pradavelopmant. Supporting and enganing cur leading corporations and business institutions to recruit rowing businesses to the city Ensuring that ity budget cuts do not pact that quay of life fundamental sorvicos that help Cincinnati attract and cetain business 2, their employees and families. + Keeping The Banks private development and riverfront park on track and on budget to provide the large-scale downtown entertan- ment dsc that we current lack + Opposing efforts to institute mere gov tment bureaucracy and regulation that dive businesses out ofthe city, and use the deficit to steamlne busines processes that ere good for business and save maney inthe process. Working with Mayor Mallory to find a ‘way to bid the streetcar without using General Fund money needed for police, re and atherbe- © Moving panhandlers off the streets and into service providers that cen end their cycle of dependency. = Contining t9 support law enforcement ‘a be innovative infighting cme and manta ing publ safety and order that give people con- fidence nth city (Our aspiratons forthe ety, including our ably to ford the services inherent ina high ‘quality off, depend on our success. CP Jeff Berding wae elected t0 Cincinnati City (Council in 2005. He chairs the Rules and Government. Operations Canimitte, ir the vice air ofthe Finance Committe and serves on the Law and Public Safety and Economie Deselopmentcommictee, ‘halt Wer is pinion ae yr mit the views of tis nagar. tT