It’s the holidays. For more than 200 major American cities, that means that Santa will soon be stopping by to break the hearts of anxious civic leaders who have been naughty and hoped to find Amazon HQ2 under their tree, rather than a lump of coal.

What they fail to realize is that rejection from Santazon is actually the best gift they could have received this holiday season. Instead of selling their economies down the river for generations to come through the stratospheric promises of tax incentives, free land and even seats at the table of City Hall, these cities will hopefully realize that they could use all of this money – taxpayer money – to build infrastructure, improve schools, reduce crime, and most important, support local businesses and invest it locally.

After all these years in economic development, it continues to amaze me that so many communities continue to willingly sell their economic souls for the promise of a big fish. But the statistics don’t lie. Eighty percent of new jobs come from small local businesses, not out of state recruitment. True and sustainable economic success is already in your community, ready to be nurtured and supported.

The simple truth is, a powerful economic movement is already sweeping the nation and even much of the world. More than a thousand communities and government entities have local business networks and projects underway right now. In rural and urban towns and cities large and small, progressive and conservative, residents are building robust economies by promoting and embracing a “think, buy, and invest in local” mentality by supporting entrepreneurial innovation and local investment, and ending subsidies and other unfair advantages to businesses that aren’t indigenous to the community.

How do I know this to be true? Have I suddenly gained some psychic abilities now that I’ve retired? Do I have some magical crystal ball?

Hardly. In truth, Michael Shuman – a globally recognized expert in community economics and one of the architects of crowdfunding reforms that became the JOBS Act – and I started working on a new book before I left the Washington State Department of Commerce. For a number of reasons, I was unable to finish the book while I was still working at the agency, including the fact that I was distracted by the thought of spending my golden years on a beach with Jennifer Aniston.

But it’s done now, (well, not the beach fantasy). After two long years of interviews, in-depth research, endless edits, photographic safaris and phone calls, our collaboration has resulted in a collaborative effort that shines a light on the proven ways communities, especially those in rural areas, can change the way they do economic development and help their economies grow. And we are doing it in Washington State.

The result, Washington Dollars, Washington Sense, is a handbook for local investment and a call to action for a new way to practice and deliver economic development throughout the country.

Properly applied, the lessons learned in this book should serve as the bible for businesses, investors, economic developers, state legislatures, and anyone else interested in alternative business financing and investing structures that keep local dollars churning in local communities.

Washington Dollars, Washington Sense is filled with data, best practices, and new ideas that are endorsed by business and economic development associations as well as many state and local elected officials.

And the best part? It’s FREE! Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, you can give your community the gift that keeps on giving year round and years into the future. Just click here and download it. Santa Claus will soon be coming to your town with joy and prosperity.

– Happy New Year from the