Building a More Dynamic and Competitive Economy

Just concluded an interesting program at Brookings, see linked.
Steve Case, founder of AOL, talked about bringing businesses away from the coasts and into the heartland. He has a embarked on a project to help this. The idea is that there is a lot of talent outside the places where all the money drops. I earlier watched a series of his talks re on The Great Courses Series “The Third Wave”
I recommend it.

Most interesting was the last panel that featured our former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. He is a very dynamic guy. I have always enjoyed encounters with him. (He was a good friend to forestry in the Commonwealth. His first lady even set a small prescribed fire and encouraged longleaf restoration). If I sum up his method for encouraging businesses to come and grow in Virginia, it would be energetic engagement. He and the other panelists advised against big money incentives. They are usually not worth it. This is hard to do, especially for the more out-of-the-way places.

He said that Virginia is lucky in that we do not need to incentivize too much, since the business climate is very good. A potential problem is labor. We are at near full employment and firms might not come because they cannot find the right labor. We should make long-term investments in education rather than short term wins by giving out incentives.

Link to the program