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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the tag “regional chamber”

How Does Economic Development Work

Back to one of my favorite topics, the amount of money wasted on economic development in the St. Louis Region. Millions of dollars are being spent on private and public organizations that focus on job growth. The controversy with the Blues and the Regional Chamber leader, Mr. Regan simply reflect the impotence of economic development organizations on whom we spend millions of dollars while are local economy lessens.

Years ago an economist friend of mine showed me that offering incentives in the way of tax abatement and other government services was a losing proposition. The costs of the benefits were more than the potential gains. What do cause businesses to locate in an area. I would guess they are the following:

1. A strong, able, and well educated workforce
2. Good roads, transportation, and airports
3. Good schools
4. Things to do
5. A culture accepting of diversity

You notice I did not mention tax structure which is the favorite bugaboo of the right. New York, California, and Massachusetts have the highest taxes, but great economies. In conclusion, be very skeptical of the claims of economic development organizations. Written by Paul Dribin

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St. Louis Economic Development Agencies

The embattled head of the Regional Chamber, Joe Regan receives more in the way of salary and perks than any of his comparable 25 colleagues. He receives $771,879 in total compensation. This information was conveyed by the St. Louis Business Journal. This despite the fact he had many unhappy employees and our local economy shrunk. I would like such a gig.

A bigger picture is that the St. Louis region has multiple economic development agencies and it is not clear what any of them accomplish. The St. Louis Regional Partnership has increased staffing and salaries significantly since it partnered with the city. This whole issue is the next scandal waiting to happen. Written by Paul Dribin

Economic Development Organizations in St. Louis

I have hesitated to write about this topic but here goes. As locals know, the President of the Regional Chamber, Joe Reagan has been under fire in the community and with his staff. Anonymous letters have been leaked to the newspapers. It is far beyond my pay grade to comment on Mr. Reagan or his organization.

The bigger picture, which has always fascinated me, is what to these organizations do? I am not sure. Dick Fleming, Reagan’s predecessor, was always bragging about his accomplishments, but population and jobs actually went down under his tenure. Do Chambers of Commerce make any sense in a worldwide economy?

I have also heard that the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership; a collaboration of the city and county economic development agencies is a mess. The leader of this organization is Rodney Crim. My source tells me the only thing they have accomplished is increasing salaries and high level staff.

The St. Charles County Economic Development Council, led by Greg Prestemon largely because they provide a business incubator. Greg and his staff have been supportive of innovative business change in St. Charles County including Workforce Housing.

I will write more about this subject in the future. The studies of researchers for years have shown that government economic development efforts do little and may actually operate at a net loss. Factors such as an educated workforce, progressive attitudes toward minorities and gay/lesbian populations does more than tax or other incentives to bring business. Written by Paul Dribin

Economic Development Agencies in St. Louis

I have always wondered about Economic Development Agencies. Lately there appears to be great turmoil at the Regional Chamber directed toward its’ President Joe Regan. All I know about that is what I read in the newspapers The Post had an extensive story about it today. What is curious to me is that apparently Mr. Regan’s alleged abusive behavior was also evident in his previous job in Louisville. Why did they hire him? Did they check his background?

More important, what do these agencies accomplish? They provide huge salaries to their staff, but what are the certifiable outcomes? What have been their legislative accomplishments in Jefferson City? I am going to write more about this topic in the future with data to back me up. I would like to hear of your experiences with these organizations

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