Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mike Blouin: "It's amazing how many people I can't delude."

From the Register:

Growing companies in Iowa have pledged to create and retain more than 30,000 jobs since 2003, a significant milestone, Michael Blouin, the state economic development leader, today told the Iowa Economic Development Board.

Still, Blouin acknowledged that critics of the state’s $50 million annual Grow Iowa Values program question whether the jobs are being created. Companies typically have three to five years to create the jobs — often time that’s needed to build new factories or offices that are needed before jobs can be added.

“The statistics are better than we imagined ... but it’s amazing at how many people don’t believe it,” said Blouin.

Allow me to remind you of something: all this money we've given away was in exchange for promised jobs. As of earlier this year, the most recent released report by the Department of Economic Development showed that less than 1,500 actual jobs had been created. At that point the state was claiming 25,000 jobs had been created. Also, IDED was unable to show proof that any company that had failed to create the promised jobs had returned a dime of their money.

In the middle of the night a few weeks ago, my doorbell rang. I went downstairs to answer it and it was a panhandler. He said he needed money to get to Winterset, and if I gave him a few dollars he would come back in the morning to pay me back. I handed him a few dollars. I knew I was being swindled but it was late and I wanted to go back to bed. I never saw him again, of course.

Claiming the Values Fund will create 30,000 jobs is like saying I still have the money I gave that panhandler, because he'll eventually return it. Maybe he will, but the odds are he won't. And the odds are most of the 376 companies IDED says they've helped with Values Fund money won't ever return their investments, either.

Someone is going to comment now and say I'm full of shit. Before you do, know that I'm going to ask you for proof. If you don't have it, don't waste your time.



Anonymous said...

You are very correct - I spent 15 years in economic development and found it rife with BS and a lack of accoutability. I later devised methodology to accurately benchmark real progress and results - shot down by all of my peers. The most famous line offered by one of my peers when asked to define economic development was "Shoot anything that flies, claim anything that falls".

The Real Sporer said...

Only a good business climate, which includes a nice standard of living for most of its population, that encourages innovation and rapid growth in small, mostly locally owned, businesses will really create lasting prosperity for Iowa.

We are in such a unique geographic location, and at the almost perfect place in history with biotech providing vast potential for clean and fast economic development. How can Iowa blow this opportunity????????