Good Government Strengthens Economy

Guest Correspondence

The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX) has represented the Commercial Contracting Industry in the region since 1952. We build schools, hospitals, libraries, roads, firehouses, police stations, the places you go to work and the restaurants where you go to dinner. As an organization we have over 400 business members with a constituency of over 50,000 employees. These are your friends and neighbors that work in the construction industry and help support a thriving local economy.

As an organization, a strong local/regional economy is central to our mission of “Members Doing Business with Members.” Most importantly we believe that local tax dollars used for local projects are best spent with local contractors, so those dollars continue to strengthen the local economy. Additionally, we believe a strong educational system is necessary for economic development and to recruit businesses and good paying jobs to the region so they know they will have a pool of educated and skilled workers to support their businesses. We believe in good government that is fiscally conservative with your tax dollars, isn’t overly burdensome on business and supports economic development and opportunities for the future. We believe all of this is important to the quality of life we enjoy in the region and for a strong business community.

Therefore, we take positions on policies and endorse candidates running for office.

We are fortunate that the local economy is currently doing well (though inflation and lack of affordable housing continue to drag on the economy), but it seems like only yesterday we were figuring out how to survive during the Great Recession and then learning new survival methods through the pandemic. We should not wait until we are faced with a crisis to focus on economic development. The time to show that focus and support is now so we are better ready and able to handle the next economic crisis that comes our way. 

Additionally, one of the first things that businesses look for when considering a move to the area is the quality of the educational system. We are fortunate to live in a region with excellent educational systems and they deserve everyone’s support. Both Manatee and Sarasota County will have a referendum on the ballot to extend an optional local property tax to support the school district. Due to a change in state law, this is being done two years sooner than we are used to, but that should not change the overwhelming support these referendums have received in the past. This funding is critical for the school districts and GCBX has supported these efforts and encourage you to support them too.

Another important factor in creating a good quality of life in a community is the healthcare system. Again, we are fortunate to have Doctors Hospital and Sarasota Memorial Hospital in our community. By every metric our hospitals and healthcare system are at the top. Sarasota Memorial Hospital has expanded resulting in over a billion dollars in construction with an emphasis on ensuring that the local commercial contracting industry was awarded many of these jobs. Therefore, that investment in the hospital supported the local economy. Let’s continue our track record of success by supporting the following Hospital Board Candidates:

  • At Large Seat 1 – Sharon Wetzler DePeters
  • At Large Seat 2 – Kevin Cooper
  • At Large Seat 3 – Pam Beitlich
  • Central District Seat 1 – Sarah Lodge

We are fortunate to live in a community that is growing and thriving and where we enjoy a great quality of life. Let’s continue to support the issues that help make us great and individuals committed to public service and supporting excellence.

Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.

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