You know the old saying about misery loving company. Once in a while it is comforting to know that there are other areas that are just as mis-informed and backwards when it comes to economic development.
The local newspaper in Grant County, Indiana conducted a poll in which they asked readers:
“Do you think Grant County should actively recruit business from overseas, including footing the cost of sending public officials to meet public employees?”
29.8 percent answered “Yes.”
70.2 percent answered “No.”
The writer was quite upset and goes on to make the case – a la Alec Bruce – for attracting investment.
Now, to me the interesting issue is this. It seems the more depressed and challenged an economy is the more likely politicians and the public will be either ambivalent or outright hostile to economic development.
There are 88 counties in Indiana and Grant County has the worst population trend of them all – all 88. The population has declined by 5% since 1990 – that’s even worse than New Brunswick!
Yet 70% of the population don’t want taxpayers dollars spent trying to recruit industry to breathe new economic life in the to region.
Isn’t that backwards? Is the fact that New Brunswick is cutting economic development spending while the population declines counter-intuitive?
In the words of Bender from Breakfast Club (yes, I am that old), I think New Brunswick and Grant County, Indiana should get together and go bowling.
They have more in common than you might think.
But this does reinforce my basic premise that the general public has to be better educated as to the scope and scale of our economic challenges. I am sure if you did a similar poll here you would get the same results. When the public starts demanding action the politicians will have to take notice.