November 14, 2011

Economic development done wrong

Tracy Marisa of the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition (and of the One of Nine blog) has a Guest Viewpoint on how New York's Regional Economic Councils are heading the wrong way. Most of it strikes me as the usual Republican "businesses are always smarter than governments and we should sell ourselves to businesses". I don't think that's worked out well lately, to put it mildly.

However, I agree with the piece that the Regional Council idea is not likely to make a big difference. Setting up a competitive battle between state regions in an age of declining funding seems like a giant PR stunt without much hope of creating results. New York has a long and painful history of offering tax breaks to beg companies to come here (or pretend to come here), with mixed results at best.

I'd much rather see us drop that kind of economic development dance, praying that we can lure someone in, and refocus what economic development we can do on making it easier for people already here to start businesses. Shareable facilities like commercial kitchens and workshops, training for adults, and finding ways to connect the strengths we already have make a lot more sense to me.

Marisa is also right that New York State's regulations could use drastic simplification, though I suspect that we'd completely disagree on what that "simple" should be. It's not an unusual problem.

(The comments are also interesting, as it looks like the right wing is slowly losing its iron grip on the Ithaca Journal's comment section. Also, you may want to visit our Regional Economic Development Council for more.)

In other news, the Tompkins County Council of Governments will host a hearing on the DEC's environmental impact statement on gas drilling December 1st, I guess because the DEC can't stand to have hearing in places where they might not have a majority in support. The DEC is holding a hearing in Danville, which isn't even close to the fairways, but much more supportive of drilling? What are they thinking?

The state thinks lots of Tompkins County schools need improvement. I have my doubts about the value of such assessments, but I'm sure we'll see lots more of them.

I noticed a quiet day on 366 last Thursday - I guess TCAT buses weren't running on this route because too many drivers called in sick. Union action?

In not-Dryden news, the rape arrest I'd mentioned earlier was actually in the Town of Ithaca, though the initial proceedings were in Dryden Town Court.

Posted by simon at November 14, 2011 7:55 PM in , , , , , , ,
Note on photos