Spokane and Kootenai County economic zones to be merged into one

The Spokane County statistical zone used for economic and other data reporting by government will be combined with Kootenai County starting in 2013.

The main impact is that by combining two smaller entities into one larger group, the combined group moves in to the “top 100” lists of economic reporting zones.

And “It could also help the region collect more federal funding.

But that might not be so good …

40+% or more of Spokane’s economy is funded by government. Direct transfer payments are at 22% of all income. The two industry clusters we have are government and health care, and a majority of the latter is paid for by government – 38% to 41% of all wage income comes from these two sectors.  According to a 2004 EWU study, Spokane receives more in government spending than it produces in taxes. Since 2004, this disparity has widened. Spokane’s economy is dependent on large government subsidies.

The re-zoning does not address the root cause economic issues nor will it have a significant impact. Combining the economic zones is similar to the incoherent cluster strategy for Spokane – it just draws a bigger circle on the map.

We need clear headed thinking and economic planning more than we need shuffling numbers around on a spreadsheet.

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