You have to spend money to make money

January 31st, 2017 by Ken

(Editors Note:  After nearly 30 years of doing commentary on local issues, I sat down and re-read some of them recently.  I found that they often address issues that we still confront today.  I have decided to occasionally re-run some of them.  This is the first.)

Originally aired on September 5, 1996

You have to spend money to make money.   That at least seems to be the motto of the Port of Olympia which has embarked on a spending spree that supporters say is necessary if the port is to provide jobs and income to investors.

That of course is us – the taxpayers, who pay the bills and reap the benefits – if any.  You have to spend money to make money.

The Port of Olympia announced recently that it will spend $4 million dollars to make the marine terminal a full service port.  If as expected, the investment pays off, new jobs will be created and taxpayers will be reimbursed.  You have to spend money to make money.

The Port of Olympia has hired a consultant to help market the new foreign trade zone recently approved by the federal government.   You have to spend money to make money.

After other government funding fell through the Port of Olympia authorized the expenditure of $500,000 to extend a new street from the soon to be Swantown boat works to the Farmer’s Market.  You have to spend money to make money.

The Port of Olympia will spend millions of taxpayer dollars in infrastructure improvements and marketing efforts to encourage private investors both at the downtown port and at the Olympia Airport.   All with the expectation that the investments will be repaid in the future through increased jobs and increased revenue.   You have to spend money to make money.

Taxpayers of Thurston County hope that’s true.  We’re spending millions of dollars with the hope that we’ll be reimbursed in the future.

Most of us aren’t against the concept of spending money to make money.  We know that investments in public infrastructure can pay dividends.  But, we hope our Thurston County port commissioners know what they’re doing.  We hope the staff at the port have the business sense to make the right decisions.

We’re making a large investment of taxpayer money and we’re doing it with great expectation.   The port better not let us down. You have to spend money to make money but you have to spend that money wisely – – particularly when it’s not your own.

Posted in History, The Real News


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