The recent downsizing of Georgia-Pacific’s Camas paper mill may be a signal of the future business climate in Washington. Now backed by a unified Democratic Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee has renewed calls to enact state taxes on carbon emitters.
Companies like Georgia-Pacific will make the business decision to move operations out of state instead of gamble with the uncertain future of a highly regulated Washington.
Recently, Southwest Washington has been presented with several opportunities to reverse this trend and bring family-wage jobs to the area (Longview Mint Farm fertilizer plant, Kalama methanol plant, Port of Vancouver oil terminal, Millennium Bulk Terminal come to mind). However, they are being met with stiff resistance from overreaching state agencies and some local citizens.
No one can deny that each of these projects comes with negative impacts, but we cannot cling to the overly optimistic belief that green and tech jobs will employ an entire middle class.
If Southwest Washington is truly sincere about creating local jobs instead of driving across the bridge to Portland, we should strive to be a Washington that welcomes new and existing businesses by having a balanced approach to regulation and taxes.