N.C. economic development partnership is ‘falling short’

I’m skeptical of any so-called ‘economic development’ initiative, especially those labeled “public-private partnerships.” So it turns out —-according to the News & Observer– that North Carolina’s economic development “public-private partnership” is falling short.

The N&O cites a report from the legislature’s nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division on the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s partnership with the Department of Commerce:

The report’s authors wrote that the lack of coordination is “problematic in practice and detracts from the State’s economic development reputation.”

They found that the problems include a “bureaucratic and slow” process for obtaining job creation incentives. And they found a lack of policies and procedures to determine which agency does which tasks, resulting in separate research teams that sometimes duplicate each other’s efforts.

In response, EDPNC leaders wrote that “we agree with the need for and welcome stronger communication and coordination measures with Commerce,” but they added that “both groups have already undertaken many steps towards this end over the past several years.”

So the question which entity is responsible for the “bureaucratic and slow” process. Let’s face it–“bureaucratic and slow” is associated with government. But that might be a function of the division of labor that results from “private-public partnerships.” More interesting is the report’s recommendation for legislation requiring the EDP to raise more private funds. Executive director Chris Chung responded “we’ll be forced to compete more with our local partners who are approaching the same private investors…..the last thing we want is a much higher requirement to drive a bigger wedge between us and our local partners.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Of course the bigger question is whether economic development is an issue in North Carolina right now.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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