As a community, Paris has given tax abatements – amounting to millions of dollars – to some of our largest, most profitable businesses. At our expense, we train their workers, and also offer job-training help for other firms. Paris citizens pay for job training and tax abatements when we pay our property taxes. Basically, we subsidize those benefiting from abatements.

But this is how things are now done in the new economic order (a partnerships between big government and big business). It’s the world we live in. If we don’t like it, we need to change the economic philosophy in Washington, D. C., and in Austin, Texas.

Or we can keep digging the hole.

But since we can’t seem to change it, maybe Paris should convene a new coalition of public, nonprofit and private employers with an objective of developing goals for:

* hiring local residents and increasing the percentage of goods and services that all local employers buy from local businesses.

* tax cuts to companies that employ at least 66-percent local residents. (Why are local taxpayers creating jobs for people outside the county?)

* local hiring requirements for public infrastructure projects approved by the city, the county and the Independent School Districts within Lamar County.

* awarding local source (Paris and Lamar County) infrastructure repairs or construction for bids up to 10% above the lowest outside bid, keeping local money at home, whereas, outside firms take local money to outside areas.

* policies that give certain types of minority and female-owned businesses a leg up in the bidding process (but for such policies to be effective, the coalition needs to identify and engage businesses beforehand.)

* develop and sponsor ‘angel and/or equity financing’ for likely successful new business startups.

* subsidizing a year of rent or some percentage for any employee who moves from outside to inside the Paris city limits (and/or as an award to an outstanding employee who lives in Paris).

* as gifts and bonuses, develop a prepaid community debit card to use at local businesses.

* holding companies accountable when they receive tax abatements or other incentives and fail to comply with employment and investment mandates (what are the penalties?).

* Follow initiatives to determine the significant impact. (The policy is the bully pulpit, which is the lever to convince citizens and local businesses and industries that it’s in their best interest to prioritize local hiring and business contracts.)

Neither the objective nor the goals are even considered complete or cast-in-concrete. This is only a suggestion by the Paris Chamber – merely a possible starting point for a few goals, steps or policies, that might be needed or recommended by the coalition. Some could even be discarded as better goals are discovered.

Currently, we have these good minds operating in Paris, by people of good will, who are our community’s industrial and business leaders, that Paris is asking to do things that often offer little interest to them or are outside their areas of expertise.

This coalition would be business helping business.

And it’s only one way of going local for community progress – merely scratching the surface of ways to “go local”for successful economic and community development.