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Spokane Mayoral Race: Candidates' plans for economic growth

Jobs are central to any race for mayor. We break down the key policy ideas and talking points of this year's eight candidates.

All of the candidates running for mayor of Spokane have at least one thing in common: a desire to boost the city's economy.

You'll find a few similarities across many of their platforms when it comes to how to do that.

One: direct investment in business.

Two: making regulations business-friendly.

Three: finding ways to more indirectly incentivize growth.

Four: wages.

Direct investment

When it comes to direct investment, one of the most straightforward proposals comes from Eastern Washington graduate Chris Schroll. His idea: tax credits for green businesses.

Current council president Ben Stuckart also has a number of direct investment proposals. He wants to continue the city's targeted investment program, which provides certain tax breaks and infrastructure improvements in some areas. He also wants to invest more in job training.

Candidate Jason Dixon, who does not have a website, wants to promote marijuana tourism.


On the regulatory side, lots of candidates say they want to make Spokane more appealing to business. Only a handful have any specific proposals.

Schroll, as well as firefighter Shawn Poole, both want to look at creating some sort of business center that could help small companies navigate codes, laws, and rules.

Schroll specifically wants to create a public chamber of commerce, rather than relying on Greater Spokane Inc.

Stuckart says that in his work on city council, he's already helping promote common-sense regulatory reforms. He said, for instance, he helped Wisconsinburger expand by modifying parking requirements.


Another common talking point: incentivizing businesses to move to Spokane.

One way of doing that, public development authorities, a means of getting various local governments to work together to create growth.

Both Stuckart and business owner Jonathan Bingle credit the arrival of Amazon in the area to the West Plains PDA.

Stuckart hopes to replicate that success in other areas.

Another Stuckart proposal: securing state funds to incentivize owners of surface parking lots to instead build, whether that be parking garages, apartments, or businesses.

For both Shawn Poole and Air Force veteran Andy Rathbun, improving public safety and reducing crime are key ways of attracting growth.

Poole, Bingle, and former TV anchor Nadine Woodward all in some way want to focus on advertising Spokane to outside businesses.


Only two candidates, Schroll and Stuckart, have a definitive stance on the minimum wage. They both think it should increase. 

Stuckart specifically notes that that should happen on the state level, and says a local hike wouldn't be helpful.

Three candidates, Poole, Rathbun, and community leader Kelly Cruz, all support some form of minimum wage, but with various qualifiers for remaining friendly to business.

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