Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Site Selection Follow Up

Economic development policy is usually a game of cherry-picking the data. The view from Florida:

We’ve heard Gov. Rick Scott on several occasions talk about how he’s like Florida to be more like Texas, which is led by Gov. Rick Perry.

Today Site Selection magazine came out with its “Governor’s Cup” rankings and Perry won. The list measures how many new companies and jobs expanded in each state last year. There are a lot of different rankings out there and they all come with their own merits and criticism. This one is no different, but it does give some insight into what people who scout locations for companies — the site selectors — are thinking about.

Texas winning the Governor's Cup is convenient. Ohio, second place for 2010, sat on top in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. A commenter at the Orlando Sentinel blog makes the obvious connection:

This story is confusing. Ohio was number 2. OHIO? The same Rust-belt, high tax, high union membership, Ohio, that used to be the industrial engine of the US? It;s not even a Right-to-Work state AND it still that antiquated notion called “welfare.”

So if Perry is correct in that article how in the heck did Ohio do so well?

The reigning champion before Ohio's run was, you guessed it, Texas. The political rhetoric frames Texas and Ohio as polar opposites in terms of policy geography. And Ohio policy is supposed to kill economic development. That's why John Kasich is now governor.

The story, THE Rust Belt story, is confusing. Ohio isn't supposed to win the Governor's Cup until the Republicans come to the rescue. The Texas playbook is rubbish. Florida would be better off being more like Ohio, Ted Strickland's Ohio.

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