The Complete Package

March 19, 2012

There’s no good idea that can’t be improved on.
Michael Eisner

I’ve touched on workforce a lot lately because it is an economic development topic that requires persistent action and improvement. Let us now return to our old friend – economic incentives. A recent article in Area Development touched on the subject very well. The debate between providing incentives to new and expanding companies vs. providing incentives to start and grow “local” companies has a long history.

I think it is a bit of a false argument, that states and communities should undergo a regular process to investigate whether all of the incentives that they offer for all types of business are working or not. Whether it is the services provided to companies through a process called economic gardening or the provision of incentive to growing companies, the answers are usually not very clear and require thoughtful discussion and analysis. Some incentives work, but take time to have an impact.  Others may work well, but have unintended consequences. On top of that, what works in one region may not work well for another.

I strongly believe that communities that understand that tax and government financing incentives are direct tools that must be used appropriately, but that the strongest incentives go well beyond that in a modern economy. Growing companies in a dynamic world economy require communities to invest and prepare the physical environment and the workforce, to advocate for smart economic policies that help their industries to grow, to tax them fairly, and to work with them to attract and retain talent.

With the many competing interests of strained government resources it will always be a challenge to offer the complete package for every type of company, but it is a goal well worth pursuing.

Columbus2020 Update
This week Columbus2020’s team returns from India having met with a number of growing companies and having strengthened international relationships in and important part of the world economy. Thanks to Deb Scherer for all of her hard work and due diligence.

Our team also hosted allies and investors at this weekend’s NCAA tournament at Nationwide Arena. Thanks to all that attended. Finally – congrats to our Ohio State Buckeyes for having advanced to the Sweet 16. Go Bucks!

Kenny McDonald