The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Economic Development Agencies

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote today of more corruption on the part of the St. Louis Economic Development Agency led by Sheila Sweeney. It is reported that the State Auditor, Nicolle Galloway discovered large bonuses approved to Sweeney and her Chief Financial Officer that were unknown to anyone and unauthorized. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were involved. All of this was part of the general scandal of the Stenger administration.

This incident hides a bigger problem. Economic Development Agencies in general do not accomplish much and are rarely worth their cost in salaries and expenses. In fact, study after study has shown that government economic development programs that offer incentives for business development do not pay off. The costs of the incentives to the businesses tend to be higher than the benefits received by the community. Probably the best investment for a community is in education and overall good governance. Businesses tend to like to be located in communities with well educated work forces and well governed communities. Written by Paul Dribin

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