Indiana Eco-Devo: Progress with Transparency
For release Dec. 30 and thereafter.
by David Penticuff
Some of us are pleased that the upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly will include a serious attempt at reforming the way economic-development efforts are conducted in the name of Indiana taxpayers. Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, is working with Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, to develop legislation that would compel the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to actually report on how many jobs are created by their efforts, not just promised at press conferences.
Mr. DeHaven obtained a 2009 email exchange between a former head of the IEDC and a commissioner of Indiana Workforce Development. It was in response to concerns by the mayor of Kokomo that the IEDC was primarily concerned with bringing jobs to Indianapolis. “I assured him that wasn’t the case and explained that most employers come to IEDC already knowing where they want to locate,” the IEDC director wrote.
Well, if employers already know where they want to be, why are we paying for incentives to attract them to where they already intend to locate?
Reform legislation is drawing the support of Democrats and Republicans with both labor union and Tea Party backing. It is bipartisan, and it is an obvious good idea.
Clearly, what has been done the past couple of decades in taxpayer-funded and government-driven economic development isn’t working across the state, and a new approach, or at least a less-expensive one, needs to be tried. But we can’t make those public-policy decisions unless we, all of us who have an interest, truly know what we are doing now and what results are being generated.
David Penticuff is editor of the Marion Chronicle-Tribune. This essay is excerpted from a Dec. 30, 2012, editorial.