Best Way to Help the Local Economy - Shop Locally - There's no stopping the trend toward major national retailers -- hey, this is America, and business growth is what we're all about. But perhaps people can lessen the trend's impacts by being aware that when they spend their money locally, the money stays in the Inland Northwest. Shop at Wal-Mart -- to pick one big, national chain that takes a lot of heat on this issue -- and the profit gleaned from your purchase heads back to Arkansas. By winning out in this category over the usual bring-in-a-Microsoft type answers, it shows that people (our readers, at least) are tuning into the issue more than ever. Individuals can vote with their pocketbooks, and if you're not even aware that you can make a difference, the hills small businesses have to climb get even steeper.
Of course this category was filled with its fair share of wise-ass answers, too, like "Support global warming so Spokane becomes the new Florida and Disneyworld moves here," "Adopt a pothole for $100 each," "Rename it Seattle" and "Charge sales tax on meth transactions." But there were also some that, while funny, were at least half serious, like "Give people jobs filling potholes" and "Make City Council meetings pay-per-view."
There were also some answers that regional leaders might do well to consider as their efforts at improving the local economy continue, like "Create a port district," "Support biotech growth," "Pass the Convention Center/Fairgrounds issue" and "Get a state research university in Spokane."
But a few opted for the home-run style of economic development, in which all ills are cured in one spectacular swoop, like "Strike oil," "Beg Bill Gates for money" and "Wait for Seattle to slip into the ocean so we get Microsoft."
2nd: Lower Taxes
3rd: Raise Wages