Privatized economic development still controversial

October 11, 2010
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The old debate in Indiana over whether economic development can be accomplished better outside of state government is spreading to other states. But the there’s no more agreement than ever.

Indiana replaced the Department of Commerce with the privatized Indiana Economic Development Corp. in 2005. At the time, newly elected Gov. Mitch Daniels said private operation, including board members appointed from the private sector, would help the agency move faster to attract jobs.

Ohio and Iowa are the latest states to consider the idea, as Republican candidates for governor in those states call for abandoning their state-run agencies.

“No more bureaucrats, no more bungling, no more tripping over one another,” said U.S. Rep. John Kasich, who has been supported by Daniels in his run for governor of Ohio.

Indiana’s IEDC collected mixed reviews in an Associated Press story about the trend. House Speaker Pat Bauer, a Democrat, was noted for his call to reform IEDC following reports of job commitments that didn’t materialize. John Krauss, who directs the Indiana University Public Policy Institute and was a deputy mayor under former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut, a Republican, opined that private operation allows for attracting private donations in an era of angry taxpayers.

Scandals aren’t unique to either public or private agencies. In Iowa, allegations of fraud, abuse and sloppy bookkeeping cost the jobs of five workers in the state’s film promotion office; Florida’s privatized organization doled out millions of dollars in incentives to companies that joined the group’s board.

In your mind, what works best—public or private? Any thoughts on how you like IEDC now that it’s been in operation for awhile?

 

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  • Privatized Economic Development
    Either model works, i.e. public or private, as long as everyone is on the same page with regard to long-term strategic plan. Injecting politics into economic development never works.
    • What Say You?
      Huh? Public policies create the environment for businesses to succeed or fail while providing the quality of life services to the public. Maybe you can revise and extend your remarks?

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    1. I keep wondering why I keep hearing about this problem of corporations leaving America, and I never hear a reasonable proposal to lower corporate tax rates and raise personal rates on income from capital gains and dividends, especially for high earners. It is just too simple of a solution for Congress to embrace?

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    3. is a disaster. SR37 already needs to be built to interstate standards between 465 and SR144. Southport Road is a mess each morning and evening.

    4. Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.

    5. This development is in addition to Allpoints Midwest 5, Aitrtek, a recent FedEx and more in Plainfield. Greenwood and Brownsburg also have similar projects.

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