Report: Wisconsin Needs a BOLD New State ED Organization

August 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

This should sound familiar to Snohomish County leaders: “Be bold!” A new report recommends that economic development functions be carved out from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and be centralized in a new agency in order to help turn around the state’s sluggish economy. The report shows that the state lags in per-capita income and employment, and consistently ranks in the bottom half of states in terms of business environment.

While the impacts of the national recession, globalization and other economic forces have contributed to the state’s economic woes, other states have found opportunities for growth and the report criticizes the state’s economic development efforts as “a scattered broadcast of ideas and hopes instead of a well-rooted strategy for change.”

In order to reinvigorate the state’s economy, the study’s authors recommend the state form a new, quasi-public economic development organization, Accelerate Wisconsin, to create and implement a statewide economic development strategy.

While stripping the Department of Commerce of its economic development functions would represent a major shift, it “can position the state in a more effective leadership role. ”

The report, “Be Bold Wisconsin,” was commissioned by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, Competitive Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Counties Association and was produced by Deloitte Consulting and Newmark Knight Frank. Those involved with crafting the report include leaders in business, labor, higher education, economic development and state government, including former Commerce Secretaries Cory Nettles and Bill McCoshen.

In addition to forming a new economic development organization, in order to reach the goal of making Wisconsin among the top ten states to start or expand a business by 2016 the report recommends the state:

– “Reposition Wisconsin’s brand through an aggressive and targeted marketing campaign.”

– “Align state economic development efforts, educational programs, and public- and private- sector leaders around select targeted industries.”

– “Develop a structured, proactive approach to business retention.”

– “Centralize and streamline the state’s innovation programs.”

– “Reinvigorate and focus Wisconsin’s business attraction capabilities .”

– “Deploy a statewide “shovel-ready” sites program with expedited permitting procedures.”

– “Implement new incentives geared toward capital-intensive and startup projects and align incentives with target industry sectors. ”

– “Apply technology to enable and underpin Wisconsin’s economic development strategy. ”

Read the report: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/100801CompetitivenessReport.pdf

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Entry filed under: State Economic Development, Wisconsin Economic Development. Tags: , , .

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