by Pia K. Hansen

Everyone is talking about job creation. President George W. Bush is releasing statistics to show how many jobs his policies will create -- although nobody can quite agree on what that number is, exactly. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponents grab every chance to argue how they can get America working again. Despite two wars going on, jobs seem to be issue No. 1 again.

When it comes to job creation locally, we're reminded every day that Washington has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation and a B & amp;O tax -- and what business owner would possibly consider locating a business in a state where you have to pay more taxes than anywhere else?

Add to that the discrepancy between the west side of the state, which is blessed with both Microsoft and Boeing, and the region east of the Cascades, which has not only lost farming, mining and logging jobs, but also Kaiser and, perhaps, Metropolitan Mortgage.

Handing out pink slips? Rest assured that everyone will know about it by the end of the day.

Hiring people for your latest expansion? Well, somehow that doesn't guarantee a headline in the newspaper.

When you add it all up, it's all too easy to forget that there are area companies out there that are making it -- growing, hiring, developing new products.

Job loss is something to worry about, but perhaps by looking at companies that are creating jobs we can see what they're doing right and get moving in that direction. This year's Business Guide is dedicated to a handful of those businesses. These are the organizations that are, hopefully, outlining the region's future.

Publication date: 02/26/04

Women Helping Women Fund: An Iconic Night at the Fox @ Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox

Tue., May 17, 4-6 p.m.
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