Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A better path to prosperity

Sean Paige makes some excellent points regarding government "incentives".

"Let’s start from the premise that we all want a thriving economy in Colorado Springs. But before we seriously consider paying cash incentives to companies as a means of influencing business decisions -- which is wrong on principle and highly questionable in practice -- let's ask ourselves a few hard questions.

Have Colorado Springs and El Paso County done everything in their power to create an optimal business climate in the Pike’s Peak region, by reducing barriers to entry, minimizing the hassle factor, streamlining the regulatory and permitting process, overhauling antiquated codes and zoning laws, addressing infrastructure challenges, and educating the workforce of tomorrow? Do we consistently work as a community to serve as an incubator for entrepreneurship and opportunity, and strive to make Colorado Springs nationally-known as a great place to do business (and not because we are willing to pay bribes)? Is our tax and regulatory climate calibrated to attract and grow businesses? Are enough of our schools world class?

Until we can honestly answer “yes” to these questions – and we can’t -- the subject of paying cash incentives shouldn’t even be seriously debated, in my opinion. And paying incentives will be self-defeating unless we address those other business climate factors first, since they still matter more to most companies than cash payments do – and they still hold the key to long-term economic vitality."

. . .

"Instead of looking for ways to expand government’s role in economic development, let’s re-examine government’s role in hindering and impeding job creation, and redouble our efforts to clear away the barriers government sets in the path to long-term economic opportunity and prosperity. That’s a far more fruitful place to "invest" our effort and attention than the short-cuts offered by those who want to turn taxpayers into venture capitalists. Playing the incentives "game," as was pointed out Sunday and Monday, is the lazy city’s way to faux prosperity. It benefits a few companies, and empowers a lot of consultants and self-styled “deal-makers,” at the expense of the taxpayers. And we don’t need to go there if we look at the business climate issue candidly and start to work getting the fundamentals right."
Hat tip: Ari Armstrong

No comments:

Post a Comment