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IMF envisions a sharp 4.4% drop in global growth for 2020 - STLtoday.com

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IMF envisions a sharp 4.4% drop in global growth for 2020 - STLtoday.com


IMF envisions a sharp 4.4% drop in global growth for 2020 - STLtoday.com

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 07:32 AM PDT

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IMF envisions a sharp 4.4% drop in global growth for 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2020, file photo, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, attends a session on the first day of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany. Georgieva said that the global economy has started on a long climb to stronger growth with prospects looking a little better than four months ago. Georgieva said Tuesday, Oct. 6 that global economic activity suffered an unprecedented fall in the spring when 85% of the global economy was in lockdown for several weeks but currently the situation is "less dire" with many countries seeing better-than-expected rebounds in recent weeks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund foresees a steep fall in international growth this year as the global economy struggles to recover from the pandemic-induced recession, its worst collapse in nearly a century.

The IMF estimated Tuesday that the global economy will shrink 4.4% for 2020. That would be the worst annual plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s. By comparison, the international economy contracted by a far smaller 0.1% after the devastating 2008 financial crisis.

The monetary fund's forecast for 2020 in its latest World Economic Outlook does represent an upgrade of 0.8 percentage point from its previous forecast in June. The IMF attributed the slightly less dire forecast to faster-than-expected rebounds in some countries, notably China, and to government rescue aid that was enacted by the United States and other major industrial countries.

While forecasting a global contraction this year, after 2.8% growth in 2019, the IMF predicts a rebound to global growth of 5.2% next year, 0.2 percentage point lower than in its June forecast.

The 189-nation lending agency cautioned that many developing countries, notably India, are faring worse than expected, in large part because of a resurgent virus. Many nations face the threat of economic reversals if government support is withdrawn too quickly, the IMF warned.

"While the global economy is coming back, the ascent will be long, uneven and uncertain," Gita Gopinath, the IMF's chief economist, wrote in the new outlook. "Recovery is not assured while the pandemic continues to spread."

At a news conference, Gopinath said it was critical that government economic support not be withdrawn too quickly.

"This crisis will leave scars," she told reporters, stemming from damage to labor markets that will take time to regain lost jobs, lost business investment and diminished schooling that will reduce the development of human capital around the world.

For the United States, the IMF forecasts an economic contraction of 4.3% this year, 3.7 percentage points better than in its June forecast. The less-pessimistic outlook reflects a stronger-than-expected bounce from the $3 trillion in relief aid that Congress enacted earlier this year.

For next year, the IMF envisions 3.1% growth in the United States, 1.4 percentage points less than in its June outlook and in line with the view of private forecasters. Last year, the U.S. economy grew 2.2%.

China, the world's second-largest economy, is expected to grow 1.9% this year, a sharp slowdown from the 6.1% gain in 2019, and then expand 8.2% in 2021.

The IMF said that while a swift recovery in China had surprised forecasters, the global rebound remains vulnerable to setbacks. It noted that "prospects have worsened significantly in some developing countries where where infections are rising rapidly" and that in India and in poorer nations in Africa and Asia, the pandemic has continued to spread and in some areas even accelerate.

"Preventing further policy setbacks," the IMF said, "will require that policy support is not prematurely withdrawn."

In the United States, a variety of economic aid programs, including small business loans to prevent layoffs and a $600-a-week unemployment benefit, have expired. Congress has so far failed to reach a compromise agreement to provide further financial assistance to individuals and businesses.

The scale of disruptions in hard-hit economic sectors of the U.S. economy, notably restaurants, retail stores and airlines, suggests that without an available vaccine and effective drugs to combat the virus, many areas of the economy "face a particularly difficult path back to any semblance of normalcy," the IMF said.

Even as China has rebounded much faster than many expected, India, another populous country in Asia, is enduring difficulties. India's economy is expected to contract 10.3% this year — 5.8 percentage points deeper than the decline the IMF had forecast in June.

The monetary fund predicted that the euro area, which covers the 19 European nations that use the euro currency, would contract 8.3% this year but rebound 5.2% next year.

The IMF produced the updated outlook for this week's virtual meetings of the 189-nation lending institution and its sister institution, the World Bank. Those meetings are expected to be dominated by discussions of how to provide more aid to the world's poorest countries in the form of medical aid and debt relief.

Finance ministers and central bank presidents from the Group of Seven wealthy industrial countries — the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada — held a videoconference led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss debt relief proposals for poor nations and their efforts to support the global economy, the Treasury said.

One idea being considered is to extend for six months a debt-payment freeze for the poorest nations that took effect May 1 but is due to expire at year's end. Many aid groups are pressing for rich nations to go further and forgive part of the debt rather than just halt repayments.

Poor countries have been hurt the most by the pandemic. The World Bank has estimated that the pandemic has thrown between 88 million and 114 million people into extreme poverty, which is defined as living on less than $1.90 a day. That would mark the largest increase in extreme poverty on data going back to 1990. And it would end a period of more than two decades in which the rate of extreme poverty had declined.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Detroit nonprofits collaborate to launch equitable economic development program - Model D

Posted: 12 Oct 2020 09:04 PM PDT

Harriette "Chef Bee" Brown spent her entire life cooking for people she cared about. So, 20 years ago, when she decided she needed a change from her career in nursing, cooking seemed like the natural choice.

"I worked in geriatrics," Brown says. "[Patients] were dying and taking pieces of me with them. So I switched careers."

Eight years into her new profession as a chef and caterer, Brown was forced to take another step back from her career after enduring a personal health crisis in the wake of caring for her dying mother.

"I ended up with raging diabetes," Brown recalls. "I went from a size 24 to a 52 in two months, and I was like, 'I'm dying.' "

Unable to control her weight or bring her blood sugar down to safe levels, Brown was admitted to the hospital. For the next 38 days, she says doctors struggled to offer solutions as they ran tests and tried to determine the best course of action. Eventually, after undergoing bariatric surgery, Brown was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health and a renewed passion for food and cooking — this time, as a tool for healing.

Over the next 12 years, Brown "waged war with a fork," launching her own catering business focused on healthy food. But she didn't do it alone. Through the support of several Detroit-based nonprofits dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, Brown started learning the skills needed to establish a successful, sustainable business.

After completing an introductory business class in 2013 through ProsperUS Detroit, an economic development initiative, Brown launched Sisters on a Roll, a vegan-centric catering company affectionately named after a tenacious friend who, despite being bound to a wheelchair, inspired Brown with her persistently positive spirit.

It wasn't long before she hit a roadblock, though. Determined to grow the business on her own, Brown had taken out a high-interest loan to purchase a truck she planned to transform into a mobile kitchen. By 2017 Brown found herself struggling to pay off the remaining balance on the loan. Unable to move forward, she knew she needed help.

"I didn't know about interest rates," Brown says. "I thought if you borrow $5,000, then you pay the $5,000 back and that's that. And so I did that — but found out that there was $3,000 worth of interest."

Luckily, through the network of nonprofits helping her, Brown was able to find other resources, and on National Women's Day that year a spokesperson from Kiva, a source for crowdfunded micro-loans, reached out to Brown.

Through Kiva Detroit, a program of nonprofit Build Institute, Brown was able to secure a $10,000 interest-free loan, which helped her pay off the remainder of the interest due on the truck while increasing customer acquisitions.

"Through Kiva [and Build], I was introduced to FoodLab and then I was introduced to the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. I began to do gluten-free for people that were celiac-affected …" Brown says. 

In addition to the micro-loan and networking opportunities, Brown also took advantage of the entrepreneurial training programs offered by Build to develop stronger business skills. Through classes like Build Retail and Built Bootcamp, Brown says she's been able to develop new skills in areas she once lacked knowledge as an entrepreneur.

"I knew how to cook. I can cook anything," Brown says. "The only thing I didn't know was business. So for the last four years, I've just been taking it slow and learning business."

Although Brown still prepares food in a shared space for her catering orders and the weekly meals she donates to local nonprofits fighting food injustice around the city, she plans to be able to work from her own truck soon. After making her final payment on her micro-loan later this year, Brown hopes to take out a second loan to cover the costs of outfitting the truck as a mobile kitchen.

"We're in a different era all of a sudden. You can't do business as usual," Brown says, explaining that working from a mobile location would be more sustainable for her business in the wake of the pandemic. "I want the ability to have everything in one spot and then go to the people."

Stephanie Inson is a program manager at LISC Detroit, one of the nonprofit organizations behind a new economic development program in the city.

Promoting prosperity in the neighborhoods

Brown isn't the only entrepreneur Kiva and Build have helped grow their business since launching in Detroit eight years ago. To date, the program has provided over 200 micro-loans to business owners in Michigan.

"Because of Kiva, there are business owners across Detroit and the region who've been able get the low-barrier-to-entry funding they need to start and grow their businesses," says capital programs manager Evan Adams, who oversees Build's Kiva lending program.

The program is further boosted by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Detroit, a national nonprofit that works to strengthen neighborhoods, which provides matching loans on the Kiva platform. Ally Financial also came on board as a partner and in 2018, LISC Detroit turned its attention toward the city's emerging Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, situated near the city's North End. 

Through a partnership with North End nonprofit Vanguard Community Development Corporation, LISC commissioned a study from Detroit Future City with a goal of identifying ways to fund equitable economic development and provide support for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.

"We started, initially, in the Milwaukee Junction and North End areas in central Detroit with our partner, Vanguard," Stephanie Inson, a program officer at LISC Detroit. "The intention there was to build up Vanguard's capacity to be able to serve in a coordinating role with small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the neighborhood to provide them with support." 

Completed last May, the Milwaukee Junction District Framework study was the culmination of a yearlong deep dive into equity and opportunity in that district. Providing a "market-based and community-informed physical development" framework that encouraged real estate development and business investment, the report offers practical recommendations for meeting local residents where they are, while expanding new business and workforce opportunities.

"After a yearlong process of gathering information and working with Detroit Future City and SmithGroup, Vanguard decided that we wanted to take on economic development as a specific program area," says Pamela Martin-Turner, president and CEO of Vanguard. 

True to the organization's core values of economic equity and racial justice, Vanguard embarked on a strategic initiative to provide resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the city's North End through the support of funding from LISC and other partner organizations.

"Part of everything that we've done at LISC, particularly in Detroit, is to recognize the fact that Detroit has predominantly Black residents, and to uplift those voices and those ambitions and goals, and help them connect with entrepreneurial resources," Inson says. 

In June, those efforts were recognized when Vanguard was awarded the designation of Detroit's Historic North End district as a Michigan Main Street by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's MiPlace program — making it one of only two neighborhood commercial districts in Detroit participating in the Michigan Main Street Program, the other being Mexicantown Main Street.   

"Our current strategic goals involve 50 percent of our investments going to housing and 50 percent of our investments going to economic development — either investments or resources for the community," Inson says. 

Those resources include education and support for entrepreneurs and small business owners, financial coaching support like those offered through ProsperUS and LISC's Greater Detroit Center for Working Families, business loans, and investment in the development of 2.9 million square feet of commercial space in Detroit for small to medium-sized businesses.

President and CEO of Vanguard Pamela Martin-Turner is part of the team behind an initiative to provide resources for small businesses in the Detroit's North End.

Meeting COVID-19 challenges

After nearly two years of in-depth research and planning, Vanguard and LISC launched their economic development program in March. A few weeks later, the COVID-19 forced the program to pivot quickly to help local businesses overcome unanticipated obstacles.

"This is a very challenging time," Inson says. "One thing we were hoping to achieve with the relationship between Ally Financial, Build, and Vanguard was training and getting technical assistance and support for existing businesses in the area to help them grow, as well as support entrepreneurs — and the way that looks now is very different because we can't hold in-person engagements."

Despite those challenges, Inson says LISC has been successful in raising some additional national resources, and the organization and its partners have managed to find ways to quickly move their services online in order to continue working with entrepreneurs and small businesses in Detroit's North End.

"We didn't want this important work to stop, so we pivoted to providing assistance virtually," says Jacqueline Howard, senior director of corporate citizenship at Ally Financial.

Pivoting meant revising 2020 goals to include more emergency cash support access, and connecting clients to COVID-19 government support such as unemployment insurance, the Payroll Protection Program, and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program."

"Through it all, our program continues to focus on giving entrepreneurs access to the capital and support they need to succeed," Howard says. "Efforts with LISC are outcome- and impact-driven with the goal to help end generational poverty." 

In an effort to help keep businesses operating safely, Vanguard also partnered with DTE and other organizations to provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with PPE, as well as technical support for business owners applying for emergency loans and grants to keep funds flowing. 

 "It's really important that [small businesses] don't cease to exist because of COVID," says Martin-Turner.

April Jones-Boyle, the founder and executive director of Build Institute, shares similar concerns about the impact of an uncertain economy on small businesses in Detroit and around the country. (Editor's note: Boyle is married to Model D's co-founder, Brian Boyle.)

"My gut is telling me it's going to get worse before it gets better," Boyle says. "But I also believe that once we get through the worst of it, there will be a resurgence of entrepreneurship."

"Folks may fail — but they're going to come back stronger."

This is part of a series supported by LISC Detroit that chronicles Detroit small businesses' journey in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harriette Brown wants to see her catering business, and her city, grow.

4 candidates vying for 4th District Congress seat | News - Cadillac News

Posted: 12 Oct 2020 09:00 PM PDT

Four candidates are seeking to fill the Fourth District seat for U.S. Congress this November.

Incumbent Republican candidate John Moolenaar is facing off against Democrat Jerry Hilliard, Libertarian David Canny, and Green Party candidate Amy Slepr to fill the two-year term in Congress. With that mind, the Cadillac News asked each candidate a series of questions to help inform the district's voters before they head out to the polls or send in an absentee ballot. The questions and responses from each candidate are what follows.

John Moolenaar, Incumbent Republican candidate

• Why are you running for this seat/seeking re-election?

I believe America is worth fighting for. As your Congressman, I will continue to fight to restore the American dream of economic opportunity for those who work hard to support their families.


• In your opinion, what do you believe are the core responsibilities of the office you are seeking?

As your representative in Congress, it is my responsibility to uphold and defend the Constitution, and to be a voice for practical solutions that help the people of Mid and Northern Michigan.


• What do you believe are the biggest issues facing the country? With this in mind, what will be your plan to address at least one of these issues?

Right now, the most important issue is defeating the virus and helping Michigan workers and small businesses recover and rebuild. There was a strong economy before the pandemic with low unemployment, and in some cases, the number of jobs available was higher than the number of people looking for work. We need to rebuild the economy so that all Michigan workers can pursue good-paying job opportunities. We also need to help small businesses. Small businesses are crucial to so many of the communities in mid and northern Michigan including Cadillac and Wexford County. I will be working to support policies that help those who need it most, including a $2,000 child tax credit for working families, forgivable loans for small businesses, and funding for job-training programs that prepare workers for opportunities in the skilled trades.

• How can Congress help to address the health care issues facing the people in this country? How can it be made affordable?

During this pandemic I have been focused on making sure our rural hospitals have the resources they need to weather these unprecedented times. This includes supporting legislation like the CARES Act, which provided billions of dollars in funding to our health care system during the peak of the pandemic and created several programs to help keep people employed. It means supporting the expansion of telehealth services through Medicare so our seniors can receive care at home and don't have to travel a long way to see a doctor. More generally, there is no question that America is a global leader in health care from breakthrough medical devices, to novel new cancer treatments, and everything in between. We also need to make sure we continue to create new treatments that help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. I have voted for more funding for the National Institutes of Health to support research into cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases that take our loved ones away from us.


• How can Congress help to address the issues surrounding student loans in this country?

Uncertainty surrounding the reopening of colleges and universities this fall has made the issue of student loan debt all the more important. Many students have had to seriously reevaluate their plans for the future due to disruptions in higher education and the job market caused by the pandemic. I believe there are bipartisan solutions that can help tackle the student debt crisis by ensuring that institutions of higher education make more information available regarding the career prospects of their graduates and incentivizing employers to contribute to employees' student loan debt as part of their compensation package.


• How can Congress find solutions that will keep Social Security intact? 

Social Security is a sacred trust between the federal government and Americans who have planned out their retirement based on the certainty of that income. I remain committed to preserving Social Security for those in or near retirement. However, in order to ensure that future generations can rely on Social Security, policymakers must come together to ensure the longevity of the program.


• The country seems to be divided on many topics, how will you work in cooperation with those on the other side of the aisle?

As our state's senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked across the aisle to secure funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This year we passed legislation funding the GLRI at the highest level in nine years. The GLRI works with state and local governments as well as universities and conservation groups to protect the Great Lakes for future generations.

• How can Congress help open up the economy while protecting small businesses and workers?

We are now a few months into almost every state having reopened to some degree and while there have certainly been serious spikes in a few areas, overall we have not seen the massive new wave of infections many feared. I believe that most businesses can reopen safely if they follow CDC guidelines and make common sense changes to how they do business. However, many businesses would not have been able to make it through the extended lockdown during the spring if Congress had not provided resources like the Paycheck Protection Program. That is an example of an initiative that has broad bipartisan support. Currently, there is $130 billion in PPP funds that small businesses are unable to access and I am working to reopen that program.


• What types of things can Congress do to help protect the environment, in particular, Michigan?


We are surrounded by a unique national treasure in the state of Michigan, the Great Lakes. It is imperative to ensure that our children and grandchildren get to enjoy the beauty of the Great Lakes and other natural resources, while sustaining our economy and outdoor heritage. I have been a long-time supporter of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee I have successfully led the effort to fully fund this vital program each year. The GLRI helps protect our Great Lakes for future generations.


• What ideas do you have in helping to calm tensions and address the issue of racial inequalities?

The tragic death of George Floyd has revived an important conversation about racism and bias in the United States. I welcome this discussion and support peaceful expression of the First Amendment right to protest. Congress was recently able to come together and pass bipartisan criminal justice reform. I believe this coalition can once again come together for the betterment of the American people. I have also signed on as a cosponsor of the JUSTICE Act, which would increase funding for body cameras, improve access to disciplinary records so that bad officers cannot simply jump from one department to another, and invest in improved police training, with an emphasis on de-escalation and duty to intervene. A majority of the Justice Act's provisions have earned bipartisan support.


• Are you in favor of a second stimulus payment?

I support efforts to help small businesses and families recover, including the possibility of a second payment to those who need it most.

• How should the federal government address the issues surrounding COVID-19? National mask-wearing, increased testing, etc. 

In six months, there has been incredible progress made by scientists around the world as they learn more each day about this virus and the best ways to keep people safe. The federal government's Operation Warp Speed is moving quickly to support research into treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. The government has also provided hospitals with billions of dollars to help them secure supplies, pay employees, and recover from the loss of other procedures they were unable to do during the spring. I supported those payments and I also supported legislation that was signed into law supporting testing and making it available to anyone who needed it. I encourage everyone to continue to follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep their families safe.

Jerry Hilliard, Democrat candidate 

• Why are you running for this seat/seeking re-election?

I am running for the 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House to make positive change in our district. We currently live in a highly gerrymandered district that benefits the incumbent so there is no incentive to make meaningful change. Our incumbent has been talking about improving rural broadband for years and nothing has changed. Our District still has some of the worst county poverty and child wellbeing rankings in our state and there is still an affordable housing shortage. There is no reason to think any of these important issues and many others are going to change if we do not vote for change. We need new leadership for positive change.


• In your opinion, what do you believe are the core responsibilities of the office you are seeking?

The core responsibilities of the U.S. Congressperson for the 4th District of Michigan:

• Represent all of the citizens of our 4th District, not just their affiliated party members.

• Propose legislation.

• Improve the lives of our citizens by passing legislation that our residents want, like federal funding for rural broadband internet, more federal funding for public schools, environmental cleanup, a fair economy and affordable healthcare.

• Meet and communicate with constituents.

• Act as a check on both the executive and judicial branches.


• What do you believe are the biggest issues facing the country? With this in mind, what will be your plan to address at least one of these issues?

The biggest issues are preserving and improving our environment, a fair economy that works for everyone, affordable healthcare and an educational system that educates all young people equally. For the environment, we need to accelerate our production of green technologies and invest in cleaning up our PFAS contamination and other hazardous chemicals. By investing in new low environmental impact energy to clean up our environment it will not only improve our environment but it will also bring in high paying union jobs to our district and greatly improve our next issue, our economy. For decades consumer prices and rent have risen more than wages for low income people, which lowers standard of living, especially in rural areas like most of our district. New higher paying jobs will create stronger markets for local businesses to sell to as will raising the minimum wage. When the minimum wage goes up most of the extra pay is spent quickly into our local economy, and then creates a chain reaction as businesses spend for new inventory, hire more people to serve the increased business activity and then the cycle repeats. The pandemic is a perfect example of how important consumers are to our economy.

• How can Congress help to address the health care issues facing the people in this country? How can it be made affordable?

Two things we must keep in mind in the process of creating a health system that is affordable, efficient and covers everyone is Medicare is a private and public partnership and covers people 65 and over. Through the natural process of aging this is by far the most expensive group of people to provide affordable health care for, often hundreds of times more than when younger, and we are doing it with a payroll tax of 1.45% paid by workers and the same amount by employers equaling 2.9% of income plus some help for poorer seniors from Medicaid. That means average cost of care should be much less for all other populations. The structure is there for us to provide affordable healthcare for everyone. I suggest we expand that structure to serve the less expensive citizens and pay for the added costs with a separate tax only on those under 65. Under this plan we can start providing needed care now! It is inefficient not to take advantage of the effective system we already have in place. The alternative is endless debates and partisan arguing over healthcare while people suffer as we have for at least the past 12 years.

• How can Congress help to address the issues surrounding student loans in this country?

Helping students today pay back their debt is not much different than what the WWII generation did for their children, just a different time frame. The cost will be an investment in our future in a short period of time. I am a member of the baby boomer generation, a child of the WWII generation. After they won the war they came back to the U.S.A. and, in spite of the enormous U.S. Government debt from WWII, made this country's government and nation into what they wanted it to be. In addition to building roads, bridges and other infrastructure they invested heavily in their children's education. Scholarships were readily available and government direct investment into education at all levels was strong and I personally benefited from. Their investment in us created a generation who created more wealth than any previous generation and proved that investing in students creates much more wealth than it costs. Since then societal support has diminished greatly and students create so much more debt to get through college now that if we want future generations to succeed, we need a program to pay back some of the enormous student debt they have accrued.


• How can Congress find solutions that will keep Social Security intact?

This is an important problem, but one of the simplest to solve. S.S. is funded by a payroll tax of 6.2% on workers and 6.2% on employers for 12.4 % of income. What is not commonly know is there is an income cap, after which people do not pay any Social Security tax. The cap changes every year and is currently $137,700 in income after which you pay no more tax. We need to raise that cap to a level that works to fund S.S. as needed. It will take a team of mathematicians to determine what that exact figure should be, and included in that amount we need to create enough cash flow into the system not just to continue to pay full benefits but also to pay back the trillions of dollars that have been "borrowed' and spent through the general fund which is added to the national debt, and make it illegal to use S.S. money for other purposes. I quote borrowed because there is no effective current plan to pay back the S.S. fund for the money spent by other government agencies. Once that money is paid back, we may be able to reduce the cap.


• The country seems to be divided on many topics, how will you work in cooperation with those on the other side of the aisle?

In politics rarely does either side of the aisle get everything they want. I will make my decisions based on the best available data on any particular subject and first discuss problems by listening to the citizens of the 4th District and then with my colleagues on both sides of the isle so that we can come up with solutions to problems that improve the lives of most people in the most efficient way possible.


• How can Congress help open up the economy while protecting small businesses and workers?

It is going to take patience and cooperation by everyone involved. Because states cannot create money as the U.S. Government does through Federal Reserve Policies the Federal Government needs to have a well thought out plan concerning what kind and how large of a stimulus plan we will need to keep small businesses and workers functioning until normalcy returns. Based on the first stimulus plan that included payments to households, enhanced unemployment benefits and kept the economy functioning at a basic level, I would push for a larger stimulus package. Stimulus packages work because consumer spending is two-thirds of GDP. When consumers receive a cash stimulus and begin to spend, that spending creates what economists call the multiplier effect of spending. Which basically means for each dollar in stimulus spent a chain reaction is started. The business receives money then the money is spent again on things like wages, inventory and equipment and then those expenditures are spent by the people who received them. The ultimate result is each stimulus dollar spent has much more impact on the economy than one dollar. Then once we have contained the COVID virus the economy can begin to function normally again without stimulus.


• What types of things can Congress do to help protect the environment, in particular, Michigan?


Environmental spending when done wisely, creates more wealth and savings than the initial cost of the cleanup, similar to stimulus packages. Property values are saved and restored, more homes are built, medical costs are avoided, many well-paying jobs are created cleaning up the sites, tourism increases after the cleanup and more. Also, increased consumer spending and revenue from taxes for local roads and other infrastructure. Our recent wave of wind turbines is a great example of what cleaning up the environment can do for tax revenue and incomes.


• What ideas do you have in helping to calm tensions and address the issue of racial inequalities?

Racial inequities have gone on since our country was founded so obviously it is not an easy task and unfortunately, some people want to cause riots. However, one thing we can do is appeal to the good sense of the majority of people who just want to have their voices heard to impose a voluntary curfew on themselves and end their protest one hour before nightfall. I have been to several protests in the 4th District that have ended in late afternoon and they were amazingly calm and peaceful events. The people who want to commit crimes generally wait until after nightfall to better conceal their identity.


• Are you in favor of a second stimulus payment?

Yes, the first stimulus worked, and there was a short second stimulus with lower unemployment benefits. Based on the first stimulus plan that included payments to households, enhanced unemployment benefits and kept the economy functioning at a basic level. I would push for a larger stimulus package. Stimulus packages work because consumer spending is two thirds of GDP and when consumers receive a cash stimulus and begin to spend, that spending creates what economists call of the multiplier effect of spending. Which basically means for each dollar in stimulus spent a chain reaction is started, the business that receives the money then spends the money again on things like wages, inventory and equipment and then those expenditures are spent by the people who received them. The stimulus money can help several individuals and business, not just the recipient. The ultimate result is that each stimulus dollar spent has much more impact on the economy than one dollar. Then once we have contained the Covid virus the economy can begin to function normally again without stimulus.


• How should the federal government address the issues surrounding COVID-19? National mask-wearing, increased testing, etc.

The federal government needs a comprehensive plan based on proven science and advice from experts in the field. If the status quo remains after the November 3 election it will still be entirely up to the states to manage the Covid-19 pandemic as what we have now is their plan, and they have shown no ability to admit mistakes and change direction. If Joe Biden wins and the U.S. Senate majority changes, he has already developed a comprehensive plan which will go into effect on Day 1.

David Canny, LIbertarian candidate

• Why are you running for this seat/seeking re-election?

Since my first Election Day, I have supported candidates over political parties and have often said to friends that, while I more often than not have not voted for the winner, I have rarely voted for a loser. It was in that spirit of independence that I decided to join the Libertarians and to run for Congress in opposition to candidates that continue serve the interests of their parties and donors over the needs of the voters. With Congressional approval polling under 20% and incumbents being reelected 90% it is time to take our government back from career politicians and unelected bureaucrats.

• In your opinion, what do you believe are the core responsibilities of the office you are seeking?


The first responsibility is to support legislation that is in the best interest of the people of Central Michigan. In my mind that starts with a reduced federal government's taxes, restrictions and regulations that are holding back economic growth. It includes a strong and innovative national defense that is not focused on policing the world and supporting a globalist agenda. I will have a focus on promoting the ideals on which this country was founded and building on the history and traditions that strengthen and unify us as a people. Secondly, I believe that our Representative must be a driving force in Washington to force changes in a system that is systematically stripping away the history and traditions that bind us while using the media and education systems to divide us.

• What do you believe are the biggest issues facing the country? With this in mind, what will be your plan to address at least one of these issues?

Currently our two biggest issues are reigniting the economy and repairing a terribly broken education system, and I believe that they can be addressed together. Federal spending and burdensome regulations must be rolled back. Taxes must continue to be reduced to allow workers and businesses to keep more of the money that they earn. Expansion of free market economic opportunity zones that eliminate burdensome regulations and licensing requirements will facilitate job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities. I fully support school choice and enabling any federal education dollars to follow the student's education needs with options of apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training programs. These dollars should also be extended to support trade schools and apprenticeship programs that will provide millions of middle class jobs and restore our depleted skilled trade workforce.


• How can Congress help to address the health care issues facing the people in this country? How can it be made affordable?

To reverse the trend of increasing costs and restricted access to quality health care we must reduce government and insurance paperwork, encourage real price competition and allow unlimited individual and employer contributions to HSA (Health Savings Accounts) to anyone carrying any type of health coverage, including Medicare, VA benefits, etc. as proposed in Senator Paul's Health Savings Accounts for All Act. The Covid 19 pandemic has made us painfully aware of the need to make preparedness a higher priority, starting with responding to Chinese officials' threats of withholding medications with expediting the domestic production of pharmaceuticals


• How can Congress help to address the issues surrounding student loans in this country?

The federal government should not be providing student loans as a lender has only increased the cost of a college education. Private lenders competing to provide student loans will lower the cost of these loans. There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the need for these loans as well as the cost of a college education. First, eliminating the unlimited federal money will force schools to be more efficient and competitively priced. Governments also need to take a hard look at the large number of jobs that they offer that unnecessarily require a four-year degree when basic reading, writing, communication and math skills are more than enough to perform those jobs. Supporting Charter Schools, Trade Schools, and Apprenticeship programs at the secondary education level will also reduce the need for college expenses.


• How can Congress find solutions that will keep Social Security intact?


Social Security is a safety net that must be kept secure for those relying on it as senior citizens. Going forward I support a private option for younger workers. I support eliminating the cap on social security contributions to maintain adequate funding for this program.

• The country seems to be divided on many topics, how will you work in cooperation with those on the other side of the aisle?

While recognizing that there is a significant divide in this country, it is important to remember that we also have a shared history, like needs, and the same desire to provide a safe and secure future for our families. To cooperate with the other side of the aisle, as well as factions within our groups, we must isolate the common interests to start the process and then work on the persuasion, salesmanship, and occasional arm twisting to be completely successful, remembering that sometimes we will only get the common ground items through and to remain positive while working to advance the rest of an agenda.



• How can Congress help open up the economy while protecting small businesses and workers?

Federal spending and burdensome regulations must be rolled back. Taxes must continue to be reduced to allow workers and businesses to keep more of the money that they earn. Expansion of free market economic opportunity zones and reduced taxes will facilitate job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities. I fully support school choice and enabling any federal education dollars to follow the student's education needs with options of apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training programs as well as for trade schools and apprenticeship programs. I do not support expanding H-1B Visa programs that take good jobs from grads.


• What types of things can Congress do to help protect the environment, in particular, Michigan?


Addressing PFAS contamination is job 1 when it comes to our environment. It is a widespread environmental crisis that must be fully identified and addressed. This is a shared responsibility of government and private enterprise through either willful neglect or ignorance. Large scale clean-up legislation is required with government as well as responsible private industries sharing the costs.

• What ideas do you have in helping to calm tensions and address the issue of racial inequalities?

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard has proposed a comprehensive police reform policy that has not received enough support in Lansing or Washington. I fully support his program and will push for it in when elected. I do not believe that there is systemic racism in this country, however, I do believe that federal anti-poverty programs have a 50-year history of failure and the unintended consequence of expanding economic disparity that will require more than the government's getting out of the way to resolve. The real cure is a vibrant economy that creates jobs, income and opportunity. School choice with options that focus on trades and life skills need to be supported for a long-term solution. Economic opportunity zones will create business and job opportunities and reduce regulations that are barriers to creating businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities in low income areas.


• Are you in favor of a second stimulus payment?

Businesses and individuals that have been negatively impacted while required by the government to shut down or reduce operations are entitled to be compensated by the government, at the very least in an amount that enables them to remain in business and support their families during and following the designated emergency.


• How should the federal government address the issues surrounding COVID-19? National mask-wearing, increased testing, etc.

The federal government is responsible to provide prompt and accurate information regarding the virus, make recommendations to the states based on the wide range of data available regarding the impact of the virus on our society. The government is also responsible for restoring the nations emergency supply inventory and projecting potential future needs. The federal government is not and should not be attempting to mandate one size fits all requirements and restrictions to the varied needs of 50 states. The government is and should be assisting private industry in developing and distributing necessary testing and treatments as quickly as responsibly possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us painfully aware of the need to make preparedness a higher priority, starting with responding to Chinese officials' threats of withholding medications with expediting the domestic production of pharmaceuticals

Amy Slepr, Green Party candidate

• Why are you running for this seat/seeking re-election?

I am running for U. S. House of representatives because the people need relief from all the burdens this pandemic and rioting that has occurred, have caused. Our voices need to be heard on The Hill.

• In your opinion, what do you believe are the core responsibilities of the office you are seeking?

My primary responsibility to the people is to amplify their voices on Capitol Hill. Secondly, I would be introducing bills that support District 4's needs, and vote for the peoples' best interests Thirdly, I would be assisting people of District 4 with their appropriate government benefits such as Veterans and the Elderly with VA benefits and Social Security benefits.

• What do you believe are the biggest issues facing the country? With this in mind, what will be your plan to address at least one of these issues?

Healthcare by far is the most problematic issue in America today. We need Universal Healthcare!! Universal Health should include Mental Health Services, Dental, Hearing, Prescriptions including Medical Marijuana, Rehabilitation and Optical services.

Another issue is bigotry and discrimination against people of color, LGBTQ+, and Women. I despise the term "racism'. We are all one race, the human race. But the discrimination is against anything different, not just color and we just need to get along and stop killing and fighting with each other over nonsense. Everyone has rights, we just need give unmerciful penalties to those that violate those rights.

• How can Congress help to address the health care issues facing the people in this country? How can it be made affordable?

Universal Healthcare is necessary especially during a pandemic. Cut the exorbitant military budget in half. Even at 50% we would still have the largest budget in the world by hundreds of billions of dollars. That would leave plenty of money for Universal Healthcare.

• How can Congress help to address the issues surrounding student loans in this country?

Make College free and forgive all student loans and give tuition back to anyone who paid in off their student loans in the last 20 years.


• How can Congress find solutions that will keep Social Security intact?

Follow Canada's lead. They have an excellent Social Security system that works. www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/102714/what-are-differences-between-canada-pension-plans-cpp-and-social-security-benefits.asp

• The country seems to be divided on many topics, how will you work in cooperation with those on the other side of the aisle?

Negotiation and compromise, when necessary, are key strengths when discussing issues.

• How can Congress help open up the economy while protecting small businesses and workers?


Heavily tax corporations that send their jobs overseas and use that money to stimulate small businesses and provide start up grants for potential businesses.

• What types of things can Congress do to help protect the environment, in particular, Michigan?



Grow Hemp to replace use of plastics and other petroleum based products. www.hempbizjournal.com/hot-consumer-products-made-from-hemp.

• What ideas do you have in helping to calm tensions and address the issue of racial inequalities?


Ensure justice for those that have been wronged. Write and submit bills protecting citizens from hate crimes.

• Are you in favor of a second stimulus payment?

Absolutely! We should be receiving stimulus payments of $2,000/ month for all citizens during this difficult time.


• How should the federal government address the issues surrounding COVID-19? National mask-wearing, increased testing, etc. 

Our health is a priority, not a game. We should be properly informed. If the experts don't know, then they shouldn't make things up. If they do know, then tell us the truth.

Quality Growth Fund at 20: Investing in the future through economic development - North Platte Telegraph

Posted: 06 Oct 2020 06:40 PM PDT

Quality Growth Fund provides over $2.8M in grants, funding commitments in 2019-20

Bruce Mendenhall says he'll always be grateful that his North Platte neighbors voted to start the Quality Growth Fund in 2001.

When they last decided 10 years ago to extend the city's reserved sales-tax program, it had just helped him buy his three-person Business Telecommunication Systems shop after 25 years working there.

"We wanted to keep those employees here," said Mendenhall, who has long since repaid his $30,000 QGF loan and boasts public- and private-sector customers throughout North Platte, western Nebraska and into Colorado.

City voters will decide Nov. 3 whether to grant another decade to QGF, which has aided a variety of economic development projects allowed by 1991's Legislative Bill 840.

Fund supporters say those projects have touched 475 North Platte and Lincoln County businesses over 20 years, whether by direct or indirect aid or as yet unseized opportunities to benefit from an existing QGF project.

Voting for renewal "is an investment ... (to) grow the economy and generate more revenue that will provide more things for North Platte," said Gary Person, fund administrator and president and CEO of the North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corp.

The breadth and depth of QGF's projects astound retired businessman Todd Bissell, who chaired the successful campaign to start the fund in a February 2001 special election.

"It's kind of amazing how it's grown and how many things it does," said Bissell, who owned AJ Sheet Metal from 1976 to 2017 and still lives part-time in North Platte.

Parts 1 and 2 of this series respectively highlighted QGF's emergency aid to small businesses during this year's COVID-19 pandemic and its assistance in renovating North Platte's historic downtown.

Council members Tuesday raised the 20-year number of "direct benefit" QGF loans to 33 by approving $95,000 for expansion of McNew Unlimited LLC's golf-cart business and $400,000 for refitting Parkade Plaza's vacant Alco space and two other empty bays.

Though QGF makes use of North Platte's sales taxes, the City Council has occasionally used the fund to aid projects elsewhere in Lincoln County that can show North Platte's economy would benefit financially as well.

The fund's direct loans have included a handful of bigger-ticket projects, such as Chief Development Inc.'s $30 million to $40 million industrial, commercial and "senior living" development plan unveiled in August 2019.

The council last year approved a $1 million QGF "performance loan" for Chief toward project startup costs. Tax increment financing also figures into North Platte's package of economic incentives for the Chief project.

But those favoring QGF renewal say large projects like Chief and the 2015 Hobby Lobby redevelopment — which also combined QGF and TIF help — have been more the exception than the rule for the sales tax fund.

North Platte's small businesses have benefited most from the fund's overall palette of local investments, said Mendenhall and four other small employers interviewed for this series.

They pay back as well.

"We do probably close to $750,000 in sales a year," Mendenhall said. "So we put money back into sales taxes when our employers buy things."

Now 59, he came to town in 1985 to join what then was a branch office of Grand Island-born BTS.

Mendenhall already had an ownership interest in his shop before 2010, when the firm's main Grand Island owner retired and put the North Platte branch up for sale.

He had a little money saved up that helped him buy it. To cover the rest and have some cash on hand, "I went to some bankers to work out a little cash flow, a little capital," he said.

"A lot of the bankers weren't willing to loan me any money."

Then Mendenhall approached the North Platte chamber, QGF's voter-approved administrator, at the suggestion of a since-retired local banker. "So I put a proposal together with a business plan, and I got it approved," he said.

He paid back his three-year loan on time, putting that $30,000 — plus interest — back into QGF's small-business loan fund for use by another fledgling employer.

Since its beginning, Person said, QGF's underlying economic development plan has set aside 10% of the reserved sales tax fund for small-business loans.

He said the city typically provides QGF loans as "gap financing," with a low interest rate, to cover startup costs the business's proposed main lender cannot cover.

Depending upon the loan type, they sometimes can be partly or fully forgiven if the business meets agreed-upon payroll or sales-tax goals.

With QGF loans, "the only criticism we've had from people is 'Aren't you taking over what the bank is supposed to be doing?'" said former Mayor Bob Phares, the QGF Citizens Review Committee's lone charter member still serving.

"We've said, 'No, we're working with the bank to see if we could do this (project) more efficiently and more effectively (with QGF) than if this didn't exist."

North Platte probably could publicize QGF's availability even more, said Sarah Talbott, co-owner of The Flower Market and president of the North Platte Downtown Association.

She and husband Tom were able to fund their seven-employee business's 2015 downtown move themselves, she said. But "had I known about the Quality Growth Fund (then), I probably would have applied."

Beyond Envy hair salon owner Sophia Klein told a similar story, but she added that she makes sure other potential small-business founders know what she didn't.

"A lot of them are not aware they need a lot of money down when they get started," Klein said. "Sometimes they have great ideas, but they fall a little short" without QGF.

"So this program is great because it offers equal opportunities to open businesses in town — not just (to) those with money in the bank."

Talbott and Klein were among 140 small-business owners that got up to $2,000 in matching sales-tax funds through an emergency COVID-19 gift-card sales program in May.

Eighty-nine have received QGF help in seeking short- and long-term federal coronavirus relief, Person said.

Among other QGF projects that have touched multiple local businesses:

» Eighty-two sold goods or services for the 76 new houses and 48 apartments currently built or nearly finished under the chamber's Shot in the Arm program. QGF fits into a mixture of public and private funds backing the initiative.

» A combined two dozen businesses occupy the City of North Platte Industrial Park and Twin Rivers Business Park. The first was expanded and the second developed with QGF's help.

A long-elusive rail park for industries needing railroad access began to take shape this year, with QGF helping to leverage planning funds for the identified site near Hershey.

» Fourteen "semiprofessionals" from outside Lincoln County have filled North Platte job vacancies through the chamber's WorkNP incentives. QGF provided up to $5,000 per employee in matching funds to help cover their relocation expenses.

» Twenty-two downtown property owners have been approved for QGF help to redo their storefronts from the Façade Restoration Program. Fifty more remain eligible.

Other indirect QGF help has come in the form of economic research, Person added.

QGF funds financed the services of Buxton Cos. of Fort Worth, Texas, an analytics firm that helps North Platte target potential new businesses and tourists.

A Buxton-supplied map, based on "pings" from cellphone users, shows that nearly 14,500 non-North Platte residents from all 50 states stopped in the city at least twice for at least five minutes apiece during 2019.

QGF supporters say that illustrates how visitors' sales-tax payments help not only to boost local businesses but also to partly pay for city services, streets and utilities.

Voting "yes" twice next month — first to renew QGF itself, then for the plan that governs it — won't change either the city's 1.5% sales tax rate or the fund's mechanism and uses.

But it'll mean QGF can help more small businesses get their start, Mendenhall said.

"Without it, I don't know if I'd be here today," he said. "They believed in what I was doing, and they believed in North Platte. ...

"It's not free, but it at least gives you a chance."

These Utah companies are taking a stand for sustainability - Utah Business - Utah Business

Posted: 13 Oct 2020 02:03 AM PDT

Salt Lake City hasn't always had the best air quality―but these companies are doing something about it. Join us in celebrating the companies and individuals who are leading us toward a more sustainable future. 

Blue Sky Program

Stacey Davis, renewable energy program manager for Rocky Mountain Power, would like to congratulate this year's Blue Sky honorees. 

JANS Mountain Outfitters

The 2020 Community Blue Sky Legacy honor was awarded to JANS Mountain Outfitters for their environmental impact made by participating in the Blue Sky program as well as all of the sustainability measures they have taken to improve their community. Not only do they support renewable energy, but they also have a recycling program, donate a portion of bike rental and tour fees to Summit Land Conservancy, and incentivize car-pooling and bike riding to work. "We encourage all businesses and individuals to step up their efforts to embrace and support renewable energy. Whether or not you are an outdoor recreation enthusiast, it is important to recognize that renewable energy benefits us all," says Jack Walzer, general manager. On behalf of more than 50,000 Blue Sky customers in Utah, we are proud to call JANS Mountain Outfitters a Legacy Visionary Partner.

Staker Parson Companies

Staker Parson realized that their work is a stewardship of the area and wanted to promote clean energy options. Blue Sky is a vehicle for change that they can support which is one of the reasons they became a Visionary partner in 2005. "We cannot wait to embrace the new opportunities of a sustainable future," says Tom Thorpe, energy manager. "Our world is changing, and we can be agents of change ushering in a bright future." 

Staker Parson Companies use recycled and re-refined lubricant oils for all of their trucks as well as partnering with Rocky Mountain Power's Wattsmart program to upgrade their LED lighting. Thank you, Staker Parson Companies, for being an early adopter, your loyal partnership, and for setting the example in your industry.

Uinta Brewing Co

Since 2001, Uinta Brewing Co. has been a Blue Sky Visionary partner and renewable energy advocate. Jeremy Worrell, director of marketing, states: "The ultimate goal is to be an advocate for more businesses to jump on the renewable energy train which will ultimately create a better local environment. We always work with the future in mind and challenge local community members to do the same." Uinta is the second craft brewery in the nation to use 100 percent renewable electricity. They installed solar panels in 2011 that generate up to 30 kW of electrical power for production. They have also installed an electric car charging station, LED lighting, and have constructed a state of the art efficient brewhouse. Uinta donates their spent grain to local ranchers and have also developed a relationship with Wasatch Resource Recovery to collect unused food, expired beer, and brewing byproducts.

Westminster College

Westminster College is the first college to ever receive a Blue Sky Legacy award. Their support started out with a group of students learning about renewable energy credits as part of their economics coursework. Understanding the ecological importance of renewables, they were excited about supporting the development of renewable energy in the West.  Before long, what began as a class project became a proposal for the college administration and ultimately led to the institution's Blue Sky Partnership. "This award means a lot to Westminster College because the discourse, locally and globally, around climate change has shifted a lot in the years since Westminster first joined the Blue Sky program," says Bridger Layton, environmental center manager, "It feels great to know that the institution was a leader in the community, and began the work early to build a sustainable energy future." Blue Sky extends our gratitude to Westminster College for pioneering the path for others to follow. 

Community Initiative

Utah Arts Alliance

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

Through our upcycled art and shared resources program we have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds of materials from the landfill and have used those materials to create artwork for the community. We have eliminated single-use water bottles from our festivals and events, keeping tens of thousands of plastic water bottles from the waste stream. 

What do you envision the future of a greener Utah looks like?

I hope that we can start to save what green, open spaces we have left in our cities, foothills, and canyons. I hope that there is a cultural shift where people start respecting nature, wildlife, our forests, streams, and natural places as crucial parts of life on the planet and not as "resources" to be exploited for profit.

—Derek Dyer | Executive Director

Corporate Initiative

The Front Climbing Club

LinkedIn

Who inspires you? Why?

One of SLC's great leaders who inspires me, particularly in the green space, is Hannah Vaughan of VY Architecture. Hannah was the lead architect of our SLC and Millcreek facilities and holds energy conservation hand-in-hand with good architecture as she approached her designs. Her concentrated studies on new and innovative building practices have ensured that every project she works on encompasses many green energy practices.  

Why did you make the decision to go green?

I am a mountain lover by nature and a chemist by training. I understand the value of being in the outdoors and the science of climate change, which continues to uncover the devastating and steady progression of its effects, including the havoc it is wreaking on our recreational landscapes.  

—Dustin Buckthal | CEO

Energy Conservation

McKinstry

Twitter | LinkedIn

Why did you make the decision to go green?

As the University of Utah embarked on a replacement strategy for the aging School of Medicine building, it became apparent that the existing central heating and cooling plant did not have enough capacity to serve the three new buildings planned for the health science campus. The University developed an innovative design/build approach and selected McKinstry through a competitive RFP process to undertake the difficult task of generating enough savings in time to allow the two new hospital buildings to open their doors for business as scheduled. 

All of the costs for the project would need to be repaid within 10 years, entirely from energy savings in order to secure a loan from the University so we provided a solution that reduced the University's annual carbon emissions by 16,000 metric tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent of not burning 16.8 million pounds of coal, and will return a total of $30 million in savings.

The Muller Company & Canyon Park Tech Center

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

Canyon Park realized substantial energy savings and Rocky Mountain Power was able to satisfy its load without bringing peak power generation assets online as often, keeping average power prices low, and reducing emissions. The 2019 incentives, totaling $169,021 from RMP for 3,271,442 kWh saved is a huge success for Canyon Park, its tenants, and staff.  As part of its continuous improvement process, Canyon Park's team plans to reproduce this success for several more years.

What advice do you have for businesses who are thinking of going green?

The Muller Company recommends that any hesitant owner or management company, "just get moving." The projects at Canyon Park have saved the company, tenants, and utility companies money and improved their bottom line. 

—Justin Farnsworth | General Manager

VCBO Architecture

Twitter | LinkedIn

What advice do you have for businesses who are thinking of going green?

Do it! If you're uncertain about where to start, look online. There are a slew of great resources available to help you decide where to start, one of which is this great article from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Most of all, start a green team!

What do you wish more people knew about being a green business or going green?

It is not difficult or expensive to take small steps to reduce your environmental footprint. Buying laptops instead of desktops when you replace your equipment, setting up technology to automatically hibernate at night, and installing vacancy sensors for lighting systems are not overwhelming costs. These small steps can reduce energy use and the environmental impact of products we use each day. 

—Whitney Ward | Principal

Energy Development

Power Innovations International

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

Based on its decades of experience building custom power support systems, Power Innovations has actively sought to tackle the carbon-emissions problem and create clean, safe, and scalable power solutions. We are currently working with the State of Utah to reduce its carbon footprint for cleaner air and healthier living.

What do you wish more people knew about being a green business or going green?

Renewable energy made up over 25 percent of global electricity in 2018, and that number is expected to double in the next 20 years. Develop a plan to begin reducing carbon footprint and carbon emissions now, so it is easier to keep up with the zero-carbon regulations as they come. Going green is not something futuristic. It is possible now, using existing green energy systems.

—Robert L. Mount | President & CEO

Wasatch Recovery Resource

LinkedIn

Why did you make the decision to go green?

Our public component, South Davis Sewer District, seeks to provide the best possible outcomes for their constituents in South Davis County. In addition to providing the essential role of wastewater treatment, they believe in the plant's ability to expand on the customary services of the District by also creating environmental benefit.      

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

While it has been possible to divert green waste from the landfill in some areas of Utah for the production of compost, there has not been an opportunity to divert the "full plate" of food waste consisting of green waste, meat, dairy products, oils, and grains. With the introduction of Wasatch Resource Recovery, this full range of food waste can now be captured and converted into renewable natural gas and fertilizer. 

—Eric Alder | President | Alder Construction

Green Building

Ivory Homes

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

This year, Ivory Homes made strides in two key areas to promote more environmentally friendly homes and communities. Starting in 2020, every Ivory Home is built with a standard outlet for electric vehicles. In collaboration with Rocky Mountain Power, Leaders for Clean Air, and with support from UCAIR, homeowners are also eligible for a discounted EV Charger. Also, Ivory Homes announced a new effort to help their homebuyers save money and be more eco-friendly with water-efficient landscaping during National Water Week this year. 

In addition to these two initiatives, Ivory Homes continues to progress on the 30,000 tree initiative in partnership with the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation, TreeUtah, and UCAIR. The initiative will celebrate 10,000 trees in more than 50 locations after just two years. 

—Michael Parker | Vice President of Public Affairs, Marketing and Senior Economist

Green Business Leadership

3form

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

We have long held a leadership role as a manufacturer with meaningful sustainability initiatives and community involvement. Through the annual GreenWeek activities at our local facilities, we have educated and engaged our employees in personal sustainability.

What do you wish more people knew about being a green business or going green?

Simple: what consumers purchase dictates what is made, and by whom; in other words, every dollar spent is a direct vote for the world we live in now and the future we will create, and we can have incredibly positive influence simply by purchasing products from companies that have strong commitments to sustainability and/or regenerative practices.

—Mike Johnson | Director of Sustainability 

Woodward Park City

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

Woodward Park City is working toward returning energy and waste levels at the resort to what they were when it was the much smaller Gorgoza tubing hill by 2025. Woodward Park City is striving to set the example of what a responsible and sustainable resort can be. In a state like Utah where recreation is a key part of our economy and the happiness of many people, it's important for resorts and other hospitality operations to take the lead on environmental action.

Why did you make the decision to go green?

Woodward Park City, along with its parent company POWDR, intends to Play Forever. We understand that we must do our part to address climate change. We feel a responsibility to do our part to be efficient with the limited resources we have, to work to combat climate change, and to inspire others to take action. While we are only one small piece of the puzzle, if we can inspire others to act and they do too, that's when change will happen at scale.

—Laura Schaffer | POWDR Director of Corporate Responsibility

Hanko Kiessner, founder & CEO, Packsize LLC

Twitter | LinkedIn

What advice do you have for businesses who are thinking of going green?

Don't over-complicate your decision, start small and keep it simple. Build from there. There are quite a few obvious green choices that are easy to figure out and also profitable to implement. The idea is to get beyond the consideration, to act immediately, and execute on it.

Why did you make the decision to go green?

There is no long term sustainable economy unless it is completely green. Not going green really means unloading the cost of pollution onto the rest of the society and that's not a sustainable way to move forward.

Innovation

BuildingFit

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

BuildingFit helps reduce the environmental footprint of our clients and society by reducing the amount of non-renewable energy they use.

What do you wish more people knew about being a green business or going green?

We want other businesses to know that efficiency does not just improve the environmental conditions within the state, it makes the business community more profitable by reducing energy costs. Energy efficiency investments can pay for themselves by increasing the value of buildings and plants. Even small investments can dramatically lower operating costs. We have seen facilities reduce their energy use by up to 30 percent through low or no-cost measures. 

Cariloha

Twitter

Why did you make the decision to go green?

After years of operating retail businesses all over the world, we saw a great need, especially in the home and bedding industry to think, create, and operate in a more eco-conscious way. We had a vision for creating a new category in the marketplace―one that was dedicated to comfort and sustainability in a single package, offering a comfy way for individuals and Cariloha to help save the world together.

What do you wish more people knew about being a green business or going green?

It's a journey. A process. You aren't suddenly green. Or, your products aren't suddenly perfectly green and good for the planet. It takes consistent effort over time. You don't necessarily arrive at a point where you can say that you're 100 percent green and nothing more needs to be done. There's always room for improvement. 

Scott Brady | VP of Communications

Social Impact

GREENbike

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

To date, GREENbikers have removed 6 million vehicle miles from our local roads and prevented 5.5 million pounds of C02 from entering our air. All while burning 77 million calories in the process. 

What do you wish more people knew about being a green business or going green?

You will push more people away from "going green" if you're preachy or shaming them. It's hard to have zeal without being a zealot. But "extremist" rhetoric just creates a greater divide when the goal is behavior change. It's hard for people to absorb information if they feel attacked. I've never understood the expression, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar." But the message is true.

Ben Bolte | Founder & Executive Director

Waste & Recycling

Hello!Bulk Markets

LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

By offering people a place to reuse the (perfectly good) containers they already have, we have eliminated the need for our customers to purchase single-use plastics. But I think almost more importantly, we have offered people a place where they can purchase good stuff that allows them to live well in a conscientious way.

What advice do you have for businesses who are thinking of going green?

Do it. Start today. Start imperfectly, inefficiently, it's a starting point. You will tweak it, you will fine-tune it, and a year from now you will look back, see your progress, and want to do more.

—Jamaica Trinnaman | Founder & CEO

Innovative Renewable Feed Project

Twin River & AIRC

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

In 2019, Twin River Renewable and Ace Intermountain Recycling Center collected and processed over 30 million pounds of bakery waste. Ninety-eight percent of this bakery bi-product, 29,400,000 pounds, was turned into a renewable feed ration for livestock.  

—Zachary Harman | Business Manager

Who inspires you? Why?

The recycling market is a hard industry because commodities are mass-produced and produced as cheaply as possible. In many cases, it is cheaper to throw something away and buy new rather than repair or repurpose it. To be able to isolate a product, reuse more than 90 percent, and make a profit on it is impressive. Twin River has done this with the organic material for feeding livestock. AIRC is proud to be a partner in the process that makes it happen.

—Cortney Madsen | AIRC Operations Manager

Young Living Essential Oils

Twitter | LinkedIn

How has your organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

We have focused much of our efforts to share our learnings and help others around us to benefit. Whether it is holding education events on recycling, clothing repair and composting for our employees, or sharing ideas for corporate sustainability with our counterparts in the Sustainable Business Coalition, we are passionate about sharing our ideas. 

What do you envision the future of a greener Utah looks like?

We envision a greener Utah being a place and people that are not only passionate about addressing current environmental and social issues but are also looking to the long-term future of the state and making wise decisions that will protect and preserve everything great about Utah for many generations to come. 

Air Quality

Dell Technologies

How have you or your company/organization made an impact in Utah's green space?

We intentionally built our site next to a Frontrunner Station and offered subsidized passes to our employees as well as implementing EV charges, compostable materials in our cafes, water refilling stations, numerous educational events, and opportunities for community service. We participated in the 2020 Clear the Air Challenge and logged more than 3900 trips and over 33 tons of CO2 reduced. 

Why did you make the decision to go green?

Pursuing sustainability makes Dell Technologies a better business and it's the right thing to do. As a company, we made the conscious decision to set very aggressive goals and we rigorously track the progress of those goals. —Darcie Mayne | Sr. Analyst, Site Project Manager

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