Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wolverines and Buckeyes

Michigan and Ohio are fighting each other for a shrinking economic pie. Ohio is making a concerted effort to lure Michigan's more promising companies south:

Ohio's leaders have been vocal about the state's tax changes. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland touted the plan during this year's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, urging auto companies to consider Ohio.

Promising lower taxes, Ohio was the state that reported the most new corporate building and expansion projects in 2007 and 2006, winning top honors both years from economic development magazine Site Selection.

Chris Briem blogged about the same kind of economic saber rattling coming out of Ohio in its new strategic plan:

Several ways to look at this. Ohio has put out a long awaited new strategic plan to advance economic development in the state. Sounds like a good idea, but one goal is for Ohio to achieve job growth at a rate 25% above any of its neighboring states. Those would include Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and ...... well, you know. In fact the lead measures (see page 6) are all defined by just doing better than those other 4 states and Pennsylvania.

I'm keenly interested in the Ohio Means Home part of the plan, but there should be regional concern about this initiative as well:

Ohio Means Home is a marketing and recruitment program that will try to woo former Ohioans back to the state. Ohio Hubs of Innovation and Opportunity will focus on specific industries in different regions of the state.

Undoubtedly, Ohio will target the talent, as well as businesses, in neighboring states. I was wondering when states would get wise to the fact that we are long past the time of human and financial capital leaving the entire Rust Belt. The proximity rule is alive and well, though still under-exploited. But if Cleveland lands the big wind farm at Michigan's expense, that's not a glowing economic win. Shrinking cities will never successfully compete globally if they spend most of their time fighting each other.

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