Quit Treating Economic Development Like A Game Show

Economic development projects are not something you win.  Economic development projects are something you first have a community plan for, along with collaboration and engagement with community partners, and then when an opportunity rises you have the economic intelligence to go after what fits your community culture and future, and pass on what does not.

Are you in your community sweet spot for smart growth and quality of life or are you just playing “Let’s Make A Deal”? Here are some indicators…

If your community has never passed on a “lead” your community is doing it wrong.

If you have no policy on what merits incentives and what does not, you are planning to fail.

If leadership is offering incentives as a “free gift with purchase” without running a formula on what the actual company need is, you are wasting taxpayer dollars.

Incentives are great, as is economic development; however, the propensity of human beings to win at all costs is what mucks things up.  And there is your loop back to economic development needing economic intelligence.  Freewheeling a deal is basically putting your taxpayers in second place and some strangers with either real, or possibly magic beans in the number one slot.

There are a lot of abandoned buildings out there that once housed projects communities fought for and incentivized, such as these three in Ohio.  None of us are surprised there are no politicians and glory grabbers standing at this end of the deal.