Take personal responsibility and stop blaming industry.
During the last month I have been closely involved with industrial prospects that wish to expand or move to Port Arthur. In each case there have been requests for tax abatements. As a conservative I never support bailouts for business or direct gifts of government money to businesses as an incentive, to build in a city. I do, however, support allowing business or industry to keep their tax money to spend on new jobs. That is what tax abatements do. The government agrees to reduce the tax burden on a business or industry if they will locate within their respective venue. A new development brings jobs and taxes and spurs the growth of other local or nearby businesses.
In a recent news story a former city councilman said, of new industry, “They all want tax abatements and promise new jobs but our citizens do not get any of them.” That is not true. I say, Port Arthur citizens do get the jobs. According to the latest numbers, 19,760 Port Arthur citizens, out of a workforce of 22,276, are working at a job created by industry. Every one of those jobs is here because of industry. Without industry there would be no restaurants, no schools, no hospitals, no retail stores and no government. Just because our citizens do not get all of the new industrial jobs doesn’t mean they didn’t find a job at another new business that located in Port Arthur because of the new industry.
Another common comment is, “All our citizens get are the entry level jobs.” What is wrong with entry level jobs? I say, take the entry level job and let the industry or business train you for the higher paying jobs. The problem with that is you must invest some time and hard work in achieving success. Most of the younger workers do not want to invest neither the time nor the work.
Another problem for Port Arthur is when our citizens get the better paying jobs they move out of town. We must continue to develop attractive living areas for middle and upper income citizens. Our schools must continue to improve the image of our schools so employees will want to live here so their children can attend our schools. The city of Port Arthur, PAISD and other government entities pay some of the highest wages in the area. About half of the employees for these agencies live outside of our city.
If you really think it is important for the jobs in Port Arthur to be held by local citizens, let’s put you to a test. The next time you are in the hospital, undergoing surgery, ask the surgeon if he lives in Port Arthur. If not, demand that they hire someone in Port Arthur to do your surgery. It doesn’t matter if he or she is a surgeon, it only matters that they live in Port Arthur. You wouldn’t do that and neither can our local businesses. They require skilled employees. PAISD is in the process of hiring teachers that have been laid off from Beaumont ISD. Why don’t they hire more Port Arthur residents? Because they don’t have teaching certificates.
Our city and school district are able to pay their bills and provide services because of the industry here. Every citizen of Port Arthur that has a job does so because of the industry in Port Arthur and surrounding cities. It is time to stop blaming those industries for our unemployment rate. They can’t hire unskilled labor and they can’t hire someone who doesn’t want to invest the time to learn a skill or come to work every day.