October 30, 2014

Crystal ball murky on what 2014 holds

It’s that time of year again. It’s the time where media outlets reflect on the passage of time and attempt to predict things to come.
People in the media make a lot of lists at this time of year. There are always lists featuring the top 10 stories of the year coming to an end, and that’s always intermingled with the list of stories that didn’t make the top 10, but could have. Especially in television lists, and in particularly sports lists.
And entertainment media always have their lists of the year’s best-dressed celebrities, their lists of the year’s worst-dressed celebrities, best and worst actors, break-ups and even best rumors.
There are the lists of the year’s top films, best video games, best political decisions, worst political blunders, lists for just about everything, all of which means nothing except there is nothing else for reporters to write about, not enough news at this time of year for newspapers to fill their pages, or too much idle TV time for which stations must find something to broadcast.
End-of-the-year lists are easy, they fill space and time, and, for whatever the reasons, people seem to enjoy reading them and watching them. Maybe it’s because society has been trained not only to expect them, but also to look forward to them as if the year wouldn’t be complete if they were not published or broadcast.
This past year has been no different than any other.
It has been filled with a series of events, both good and bad, that we hope will be a solid foundation on which to begin 2014. Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill are facing many issues and decisions that not only will affect the coming year, but will impact local citizens for years to come.
The intermodal is a critical issue for all three communities.
Our crystal ball led us astray on when the intermodal would be set in motion. Several years ago, we were betting freights would be rolling into the Kansas City Logistics Hub by the end of 2009.
The first trains entered the hub this year, and construction is picking up around the intermodal. Economic conditions an not be ignored. While it appears economic conditions will continue to improve in 2014, there are roadblocks that must be considered. Specifically, unemployment benefits have not been extended. This could mean a dip in economic activity as those out of work tighten their belts even further. Hopefully, it will also mean a return of the entrepreneurial spirit that will inject the economy this year.
Our hope is that governing body members will keep mom-and-pop businesses in mind as they grind out budgets for the upcoming years. Small businesses are the backbone of the country, and bad tax policies will drive them out.
Elected officials should be looking for ways to spur economic development from small business owners – those with fewer than 100 employees. They should be looking at ways to encourage hiring, because new jobs are what will rev our community’s economic engine.
At best, our crystal ball is murky on what the future holds. We hope for the best.

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