A Mixed Track Record for Idea to Lure Jobs
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
With jobs topping the list of campaign issues this year, Republicans running for governor in Iowa and Ohio are touting similar plans to bring more jobs to those states. The candidates have called for the replacement of state agencies that deal with economic development with boards of business leaders who report to the governor.
But, The Associated Press reports, states that have tried that approach have run into controversy.
"While some states laud successes from the approach, such semiprivate economic development boards have been criticized in several states for awarding big bonuses to executives, exaggerating job numbers, favoring businesses with a vote on projects and keeping information from the public," the AP wrote.
The Indiana Economic Development Council ran into trouble when a TV station reported that it had claimed jobs had been created at sites that turned out to be abandoned. Michigan's semiprivate board came under fire for rewarding a convicted embezzler with $9.1 million in tax credits. Similar efforts in Wyoming and Florida also sparked controversy, the AP points out.
There is this belief that these private sector guys all have this expansive Rolodex and they'll be able to pick up the phone and all their friends are going to start making investments in the state," Jeff Finkle, president of the International Economic Development Council, told the wire service."In fact, it's not that simple."