The information gathered by this study could be a great benefit to economic development professionals and the many governmental units that grant subsidies to the private sector.
A five-year study would take us to 2019. During those years, the political composition of the Legislature and the administration could change. Different persons, even of the same party, might question the results of such a study. They might request a review of the review, kicking the can further down the road.
Such a study, however, may send chills down the spines of both politicians and economic developers. For years there has been little public accountability for the spending on economic development. We do see self-serving annual reports and a flood of news releases, but rarely is there an attempt to match the outcomes of these programs with their costs.
Maybe this study will show what works and what hasn’t worked in economic development. Or maybe it will only confirm that, in this area of human endeavor, meaningful performance metrics are difficult to conceptualize and evaluate.
Morton Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.