November 12, 2010
Every economic development blog in the state of Washington has, at some point, railed against the “lending of credit” provision in the state’s constitution. Which is actually a pretty good pun, considering the lending of credit provision was put in as a backlash against “greedy” railroad barons. Zinger! Anyway, you know what I’m talking about: the prohibition against direct investment of public funds into private enterprises. Which is a big deal around the country in economic development, where cities and states will throw money at a company to get it to move there. Sometimes that works out, sometimes it’s money that they don’t quite have.
A lot of folks in the state talk about making a run at a constitutional amendment, but I’ve never seen anyone actually make a go of it. Not that there’s a lot of money in the state government to lend to private companies anyway. But there are actually some interesting approaches that get around that prohibition going on these days. Read the rest of this entry »
November 5, 2010
“Government should operate more like a business!”, they say. Maybe yes, maybe no. But one business-like area that it is always exciting to hear government talking about is customer service. Whether you’re at the Department of Motor Vehicles (trying to get a driver’s license) or the Small Business Administration (trying to get a low-interest loan), you want a quick, clear response from a friendly, professional staff person. For those of us in the economic development world, the thing we want from the government is often grants, and so it’s pretty cool when a federal agency revises their funding process to be more responsive and faster. Which is why this week’s Best Meeting of the Week is “The Improving EDA’s Investment Approval Process Webinar.” Read the rest of this entry »
June 7, 2010
Glad you asked. It’s been a while since we posted our last “Where are the Recovery Act Dollars” update, and I’m pleased to say that ARRA investments in our four-county region’s leading industry clusters (i.e. – direct funding of projects in clean tech and life sciences, excluding things like transportation and public safety) has topped $1.1 billion. Check out the entire list here.
The big question, as I’ve been saying for a long time, is not how much money did we get, but where did it go? Read the rest of this entry »
May 10, 2010
I know many of you have come to see the Prosperity Blog as a unique source of insight and analysis on our region’s economic development activities. So, it will disappoint you to no end that I don’t have a lot to say about this article except that it’s a really good summary of one of the main issues for the energy efficiency market: that the demand for energy efficiency upgrades is hampered by the bad economy and the large upfront costs. The one additional piece of thought (“piece of thought?”) I’ll offer is this: I’m really glad that they discussed the supply side opportunity, because I don’t think a lot of folks do. Read the rest of this entry »
March 3, 2010
Good public policy is all about planning ahead. It’s like that old Wayne Gretsky quote about being where the puck is going to be (and no, I’m not talking hockey because I’m on the post-Olympics NHL bandwagon…although, go Flyers!). One of the biggest public policy challenges that our country is facing is what do we do about all these baby boomers, who are going to increasingly put a strain on things like Social Security & Medicare, on our healthcare system and on our workforce needs. (Nothing personal, boomers.)
On the economic development side of things, I think that there is going to be a similar challenge/opportunity with Recovery Act investments in R&D. Read the rest of this entry »
February 17, 2010
It’s that time again! As is our monthly ritual, a quick update on major awards and opportunities with regard to the Recovery Act: Read the rest of this entry »
February 16, 2010
Sure, this blog has in the past been used for some shameless self-promotion. But don’t let the title of this blog post fool you; it’s not me that I’m excited about, it’s the new support of an “Energy Regional Innovation Cluster” that the Obama Administration just announced as part of its $130 million Energy Efficient Building Systems Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative:
Anchored around a DOE-funded Energy Innovation Hub that will focus on developing systems-based approaches to designing, building, and operating commercial and residential buildings, the E-RIC will integrate this Hub into a broader regional economic development initiative by linking the Hub with complementary federal and non-federal investments in business development and support, public infrastructure, workforce development, and education.
Sound familiar? Read the rest of this entry »