Economic Development Programs for Cities, Counties, and Towns

By John M. Levy | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

There are estimated to be between 15,000 and 18,000 organizations in the United States devoted to the promotion of local economic growth. They appear in a bewildering variety of forms -- among others, governmental and quasi-governmental agencies, nonprofit corporations, and local development corporations. They range in size from chambers of commerce, with minimal budgets and no paid staff, to development corporations with large staffs and multimillion-dollar budgets.

How much the nation spends on local economic development is not known because funds come from so many sources and because the government contribution comes from both sides of the budget -- direct expenditures and tax expenditures. 1 A very conservative estimate would place the total expenditures at over $10 billion. The actual total may be several times that. A survey taken by the author showed an average agency staff size of 6.2 people, not including the director. If we assume, rather cautiously, an average staff size (including director) of five, a total of 15,000 agencies, and an average wage of $25,000, then the wage bill alone is almost $2 billion. If we add an overhead factor of 100 percent for fringes, rent, travel, advertising, printing, and so on, we have an agency operating cost in the $4 billion vicinity.

Direct federal expenditures for local economic development in the late 1980s probably add another $4 billion or more. The estimated loss of tax revenues on Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) was about $2.8 billion. 2 Direct grant programs like those of the Economic Development Administration and HUD's Community Development Block Grant ( CDBG) also provide funds used for economic development purposes.

At the local level, apart from the agency operating costs noted above,

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Economic Development Programs for Cities, Counties, and Towns
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Political Context of Economic Development 11
  • 3 - Organization and Personnel 19
  • 4 - Recent Economic Changes 25
  • 5 - The Role of the States 39
  • 6 - What Does and Does Not Work 47
  • Notes 61
  • 7 - Reasonable Expectations 63
  • 8 - Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing 67
  • 9 - Assessing Economic Development Potential 83
  • 10 - Development Planning 103
  • 11 - Development Financing 117
  • 12 - Labor Market and Fiscal Impacts 131
  • 13 - Local Economic Development in the National Picture 151
  • Appendix. Economics for the Economic Developer 165
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 171
  • About the Author 175
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