www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Ballot measures -10/31/2014, 11:10 AM

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Dishonest mailing -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Changing Republicans -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Follow the votes -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Shameful attempts -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Slanderous ads repulsive -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Medicare experiment -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Profile, or die -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Important issues -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Politics at their finest -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Most important election -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Enough is enough -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Is Roberts on final lap? -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Democrat turned Brownback supporter -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Editor Bradlee; For it All, 'Thank You' -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Davis for governor -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Roberts a changed man -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Time to stay the course -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 5:07 PM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

More ed cuts coming -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Leiker is the answer -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Sun shining on schools? -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Airline a great addition -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Huelksamp: ideologue extraordinaire -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Shoot what flies; claim what falls

Published on -12/22/2013, 11:43 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Herbert Rubin wrote that title about economic development practices 25 years ago. Economic development allegedly promotes business growth in communities and states by marketing human capital, available land, proximity to markets and by providing financial incentives such as tax reductions, cheap facilities financing, and public subsidies.

Eco-devo results in a highly competitive but non-transparent marketplace where state and local governments woo enterprises and entrepreneurs that will bring a dowry of jobs and wealth to the closing. Kansas presently is doing this with enthusiasm. Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George was in Wichita recently claiming some bull's-eyes -- ATT and Creekstone Farms Premium Beef -- that will bring a few hundred new jobs. Additionally, KDOC and the governor's office let us know the Sunflower State was getting dressed to go dancing with Boeing again in hopes of bringing aviation assembly jobs back to Wichita for a new airplane, the 777X.

This kind of activity is common among states and communities post-recession, and Gov. Sam Brownback has been quite frank about his expectations for stimulating homegrown and outside business growth in Kansas. He said they'll come because of his income tax reductions and business investment incentives. The research on eco-devo practices suggests places such as Kansas often have lots of competitors seeking to capture the same quarry. It appears what the governor is displaying in the front window looks a lot like every other state's storefront.

A scan of KDOC's business incentives brochure is informative. We put our best foot forward on the front page announcing, "Kansas offers a diverse economy perfect for your business." But, the "Quick Facts" page conveys a somewhat different message -- one that in fact seems to reinforce what some are saying about the real value of government on the cheap. First, we claim "one of the most" talented labor forces in the nation. The evidence: "Education spending, which is 25th best in the nation." We're 17th in the nation for percent of adults with high school diplomas, and 16th for college graduates. We've also got a lot of roads (140,512 miles) and a lot of railroads (4,776 miles).

In addition to this "we're-mostly-above-average-data," we've got some other data that might be unimpressive. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey, approximately 390,000 Kansans live below the poverty level. The national average was 15.9 percent. Kansas' number is 14 percent, so we're a little better than average -- approximately 22nd least poor. Of households with children in Kansas, 21 percent received SSI, public assistance or SNAP (Food Stamps) in 2012. Nationally, that proportion of families is 29 percent. The bottom 20 percent of Kansas families had incomes of $22,158 or less in 2012 and the average income in that bottom 20 percent was $12,565. The national average was $11,490. So, by $575 or $47.92 per month, we're once again better than the national average. The "upside" to these numbers is, as KDOC points out, a low cost of living and only 6.8 percent of the labor force unionized.

It might be then, that Brownback and his drumbeaters have it right. Cutting taxes in a state that's "pretty good" or "not too bad" on its vital statistics might be just the ticket for firms looking for cheap labor, a below average cost of living, minimal pushback from organized labor, and where a bit less than a quarter of family households have to rely on some form of public support. We might just feel better about our prospects if we were in the top 10 in something a little more important than college hoops.

Mark Peterson teaches political science at the college level in Topeka.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News