They say you learn more from your mistakes than your successes.
In that case, 2022 will be the most educational Economic Development Week ever, as the CEA presents a week’s worth of real-life Economic Development Disasters.
The CEA’s #EconDevWeek22 Disaster Stories:
- New York’s “Buffalo Billion”
- Suzette Kelo’s “Little Pink House” in New London, Conn.
- Georgia’s Uncontrolled Film Tax Credits
- Michigan’s Short-Lived Subsidy of Richard A. Short
- New Jersey Gets Bossed Around
- Fanning the Flames in Ferguson, Missouri
- A Football False Start in South Carolina
- Flint, Michigan’s AutoWorld Experiment
- Mongomery County, Maryland’s Bang-Up Oversight Job
- The Kansas City “Border War”
- Boeing’s Chicago Touch-and-Go
- Michigan’s MEGA Mess
- Ohio’s Long History With Lordstown Assembly
- The Rise and Fall of Chapter 313 in Texas
“Economic Development Week” is May 9-13, 2022. The International Economic Development Council, which organizes the event, says #EconDevWeek22 gives economic development professionals “a platform to showcase to their community the contributions made to their local economy throughout the year.”
There are two problems with this:
The first is that it’s not like there aren’t public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, lobbying and other campaigns constantly cheerleading for economic development agencies the other 51 weeks of the year.
The second is that talking about “contributions” means they’re only telling half — at best — of the story.
That’s because economic development programs often don’t end up contributing to a community. That’s especially true when it comes to economic development subsidy programs, where the evidence is clear that they rarely produce meaningful benefits for a community. More often than not, they’re useless at best — and potentially very harmful at worst.
This Economic Development Week. the Center for Economic Accountability is sharing the stories of a variety of real-world failures, mirages, screw-ups, vanity projects, money pits, crime scenes and other disasters undertaken in the name of “economic development.” This is just a sampling of the kinds of stories that can be found in every state and virtually every city — or could be if people were looking for them.
Why does this matter? Because these are the stories that the economic development industry doesn’t want told. They’re the potential outcomes that they never warn about in their press releases. They’re the inevitable results of mixing money and politics behind closed doors. And they’re getting more expensive and more harmful every year.
We’ll be featuring three disasters each day this week, so stop by each day to see the new stories or follow us on Twitter where we’ll tweet links to each one.