The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
One of the most effective tools for economic development is Yakima County's Supporting Investments in Economic Development (SIED) fund. It makes investments in public facilities like roads and sewer lines that lead to jobs. Yakima County contracts with New Vision to administer the program and SIED has enjoyed one of its biggest years ever.
Over $7 million of projects have been funded this year. Some of the deals include:
These and other funded projects are supporting private investment of over $100 million. Companies benefiting from SIED project they will add over 150 jobs as a result of their expansion projects. The record investment in 2014 is in part due to our healthy growing economy. During the recession SIED utilization dropped in large part because few companies were in an expansion mode.
Funds for the program derive from a state tax credit that allows rural counties to keep 0.09% of sales taxes they generate. In Yakima County's case this amounts to nearly $3 million annually. By law funds must be used for public facilities that are tied to business or economic development. Since the program was established in 1989, SIED has invested over $35 million in almost every corner of Yakima County. Jurisdictions from Grandview to Tieton have tapped the fund to support economic growth in their communities. Interestingly enough a majority of the funding has gone to projects in the lower Yakima Valley. Since the funds are typically tied to business expansion projects it means communities like Sunnyside, Zillah and Grandview have benefited tremendously from SIED.
Years ago SIED won a gold award from Business Facilities magazine as one of the top regional economic development programs in the country. It is probably time to put this program up for more recognition as SIED is certainly the top rural economic development initiative in Washington State and stands tall across the United States. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Yakima County Commissioners for their vision and partnership surrounding the SIED program. They have guided the program in an effective partnership with our organization and made a big difference for our regional economy.
Here are links to other stories involving the SIED fund