Alvin Brown Unveils Plan to Create Jacksonville Jobs | Politics

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Alvin Brown Unveils Plan to Create Jacksonville Jobs
Politics

Mayoral Candidate Alvin Brown today unveiled his plan for fostering job growth in Jacksonville through a new Chamber of Commerce-led public/private venture that would harness the power of entrepreneurialism, local community banks and Jacksonville’s small businesses.

"I will use my experience creating innovative community investment programs at the federal level to work with community banks and small businesses in creating jobs and spurring economic growth," Brown said. "Jacksonville must not only work to reduce the burden of taxes on local business owners, but we must also create jobs to help Jacksonville’s small businesses grow.”

Brown’s job creation plan centers on expanding and building upon the City’s existing Access to Capital program that provides short-term, project-specific loans to small and emerging businesses. This loan pool offers working capital funds to small businesses and opens opportunities for them to compete for jobs with the City of Jacksonville, or with participating independent agencies.

Brown’s plan for dramatically enhancing this program involves his administration working with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce to develop a consortium of community bank leaders who would review available public and private loan sources, commit to lending more aggressively and build a program that inspires new small business growth. To ensure the program’s success, the Mayor’s Office would leverage available federal programs to fund a Loan Loss Reserve. Benefits of such an innovative jobs program would include:

  • Expanded credit to local companies through a new capital source
  • Incentives to local banks to increase lending with reduced risk; supported by Loan Loss reserve
  • Expansion of the procurement program currently supported by the City of Jacksonville and its independent authorities
  • Opportunities to develop Chamber of Commerce led business-to-business procurement opportunities supported by access to capital sources. 

The Loan Loss Reserve would be in the form of available federal funds, provided funded business activities were targeted to specific census tracts in Jacksonville, the funds are subject to recapture with successful repayment of loans.

Brown’s Access to Capital strategy reflects the policies embraced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber’s Vice President for Small Business Policy Giovanni Coratolo wrote in a recent white paper, “As the nation slowly emerges from trying economic times, it is difficult to overemphasize the contributions that entrepreneurs will play in creating jobs and expanding the economy. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small firms represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, employ just over half of all private sector employees, pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll, and have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years. Clearly, any strategy to jump-start the economy must have a robust small business component that allows entrepreneurs to access capital and retain existing cash flow from operations in order to start, grow and expand the ir enterprises. To that end, healthy credit markets are essential in creating an environment that enables capital to be properly allocated and risk to be priced accordingly.”

Brown’s federal government experience includes several senior-level positions that focused on job-creation during the 1990s. More jobs were created during that time period, 23.1 million to be exact, than during any presidential administration since the Labor Department started keeping payroll records in 1939.

One of Brown’s responsibilities was leading the $4 billion White House Community Empowerment Board, a nationwide job-creation initiative that turned around places like Harlem, NY.

As part of the Clinton administration's $4 billion community empowerment programs, Brown oversaw the New Markets Tax Credit initiative. Under the initiative, taxpayers who invested in privately managed community development investment funds such as community development banks, venture funds, and similar instruments could take tax credits worth over 30 percent of the amount invested. The credits were projected to lead to $15 billion in equity investment for business growth in low- and moderate-income rural and urban communities throughout the country.

As recently as last week, this program was named one of the top 25 innovations in American government by the Ash Institute for Governance and Innovation at Harvard University.

Brown also led federal efforts to promote business-to-business partnerships that made small businesses more competitive. Brown led BusinessLINC (Learning, Information, Networking, Collaboration). This program, started in 1998, worked to promote more private sector business-to-business partnerships that would enhance the economic vitality and competitive capacity of small businesses, particularly those in economically distressed areas.

In 2010, former President Bill Clinton said, "When I became President, the unemployment rate in Harlem was 24 percent. They got a community empowerment zone, and they had to work to make the most of it – but they got it. When I left office, the unemployment rate was 8 percent. It was cut down by two thirds. That’s the program that Alvin Brown oversaw. You need a mayor in these difficult economic times who understands that no matter how tough things are, if you know how to look for the opportunities, and find the seams, and make the deals – you can still make jobs. You can still make opportunity."

For more information on Alvin Brown and his campaign, visit www.alvinformayor.com.

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