I give credit where credit it due- and this response to the Greene by former State Senator Chuck Horn is right on the money.
And money is what it’s all about when we talk about economic development, three kinds of money:
- money that circulates inside our region
- money that leaves our region
- and money that comes in from outside our region
Of the three- the last is the most important- it’s why things like Hamvention and the Great American Trap Shoot are real (to steal the Dayton Daily’s lame line) shot’s in the economic arm for the area- while a shopping development like the Greene are only marginal- when you figure in the added costs of police, infrastructure and canibalization within the local market.
I’ve said before- one of our best economic development tools is Sinclair Community College- and last I checked-Â most of the new jobs at the Greene don’t require a college education – if we don’t have more people earning real money- we won’t be able to shop at the stores that provide these low level jobs.
I’ve added bold italics to the part that I believe needs emphasis.
Another View: Retail jobs aren’t the answer to creating wealth
The following was written by former state Sen. and Kettering Mayor Charles Horn.
I read that the area’s newest shopping center will bring 3,000 new jobs to the area and nearly $400 million in new business. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I remember many years ago being the only dissenting vote on government subsidies being given to big-box retail establishments.
First, the use of “jobs” as a measure of economic growth and wealth creation is misleading. There are jobs that result in creating and exporting products and services from our region to other regions, states or countries. Clearly, those jobs create wealth within our region.
There are also “jobs” that provide retail distribution within the region and jobs that provide local services, such as funeral homes and barber shops. While these jobs are necessary for the community, they do not bring in out-of-region revenue, or create new wealth. They simply compete against one another.
To subsidize one is typically to take jobs from another. This explains why, despite all those jobs that have been promised over the years, we have not seen high growth in the total number of jobs.
Contrary to common practice at all levels of government, we should be using wealth creation as a major criterion for economic development programs, rather than the trivialized term “jobs.” Our programs generally subsidize wasteful movement from one area to another, creating little if any new wealth. This is true at the state and federal levels, as well as the local.
Admittedly, a case may be made for subsidizing the bringing of services to an area occasionally. But it should be done only as an exception.
The region should identify its potential wealth-creating resources and focus on assisting in their development. As these expand, the retail segment of our economy will prosper without government subsidy.
Government continues to support and expand an exceedingly wasteful system of pitting one entity against another to needlessly give away taxpayer dollars, at a time of great need to utilize resources carefully.
(For a comprehensive accounting of wasteful practices in the realm of “economic development,” go to the Web site of Greg LeRoy, Good Jobs First, at www.goodjobsfirst.org. His new book, The Great American Job Scam, is available free at www.
The first hurdle is to think and act as a region. We tend to talk regionally and act parochially. The mechanics of acting regionally are not simple, but they are attainable. Most of the obstacles are political.
On top of that, a good general rule is this: the money we put into what we call “jobs” would better be put into education and into the development of technology and ways for the region to use those technologies in the marketplace.
Above by: Former state Sen. and Kettering Mayor Charles Horn.
The question for Chuck Horn is: Who will lead the charge to overcome the political obstacles?
The question for the Dayton Daily News is: when will you step forward to lead the charge against stupid local leaders who continue the provincial thinking?
The question for the residents of Dayton (the region- not the city proper) is when will we realize that in order to gain power- we must be willing to surrender some?