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There’s a division at City Council that I find disturbing. Simply put, it pits workers vs. business. I’ve seen this on several issues lately, most recently the affordability plan. Discussions that began with construction workers now include all workers. Goals went from raising as many as possible out of poverty to every worker attaining middle class. None of us want to see anyone living in poverty. We all want doors open and a hand up given to those in need. America was built on opportunity and we need to stay vigilant to ensure we remain the land of opportunity for all.
 
But the workers vs. business mentality is a divisive and destructive lens through which to view a variety of issues through. Perhaps this is a reflection of national politics but it’s rather alarming on our own City Council. The tone and comments from Council Chambers at City Hall place this as workers=good, business=bad. This paints the picture of the big, bad businesses abusing the poor, vulnerable workers. Unfortunately there are big, bad businesses and there are poor, vulnerable workers. But this broad paintbrush paints every business as a menace. 
 
As Executive Director of AIBA, I find this perspective seriously inaccurate and offensive. The local business community is not made up of big, bad businesses yet in this simplistic division, we are the menace. Local businesses are responsible for 85% of the job growth in Austin, provide the cornerstone of our local economy, express and support our local culture and make this city thrive. Yet at City Hall, somehow local businesses are viewed as part of the problem for workers. Since most of our local businesses are small, I would submit further that we, too, are the workers. But we’re also the local businesses. Simplistic just got more complicated. 
 
I challenge the City Council to find ways to help local business hire more people and pay them more. AIBA has made numerous proposals over the past seven years to no avail. Big business gets tax breaks and red carpets. Local business gets roadblocks and more regulation. It makes headlines and puts feathers in caps when a company moves here with a thousand jobs. But local business adds jobs every week, every month, every year. How about local business feathers for caps at City Hall?
 
The world is rarely black and white. I would ask our City Council to cease and desist painting the local business community as the enemy of the worker.