ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Prepared for the City of Sparta, Tennessee By: Don Darden, Municipal Management Consultant The University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service February 2004 I. Introduction. MTAS was requested by the City of Sparta, Tennessee to develop a training program on economic development for presentation at the city’s annual planning conference to better inform the city board and other community leaders about the importance of economic development, to learn more about the issues and concerns involved with job creation, and to better understand how an effective economic development program may function in relation to public services provided by the city. II. Industrial and Economic Development. There is a subtle, but important distinction between what is commonly called “industrial” and “economic” development. Industrial development, at least in the traditional sense, generally refers to the process of creating manufacturing jobs. And, so, it would be concerned with such things as acquiring land, developing buildings, improving infrastructure—water, sewer, streets, electricity, gas, etc. to provide the resources needed to help locate firms that will add to employment and ultimately to the community’s tax base. Economic development, while often used interchangeably with industrial development, has, I think, come to be a more general process of creating wealth in a community. It is concerned with increasing manufacturing and service jobs, developing retail, and concentrating on those activities that make the city a better place in which to live. It often includes education and workforce development, cultural and recreation facilities and services, health care, and housing. The best example of the distinction between industrial and economic development that I am aware of is in the City of Winchester, Tennessee. Here Franklin County does industrial development, and the city is developing recreational facilities, in conjunction with Tim’s Ford Lake, that include fields for soccer, baseball, a golf course, outdoor arenas, restaurants, and cabins. The city is not attempting to recruit manufacturing jobs, but is instead focused on increasing tourism in such a way as to make Winchester a destination point for the tourist. It hopes to gain added sales tax revenue, an improved city, and to add people to the population base who will need shopping, educational, and other recreational services that will ultimately expand the tax base in the City of Winchester. III. Structural Changes in the Economies of Tennessee and the United States. For the past four decades, Tennessee’s manufacturing jobs have decreased by 43 percent. That does not mean that there are 43 percent fewer jobs in Tennessee than there were in 1960. As manufacturing jobs have declined, service jobs have increased, and the increase in service jobs has surpassed the decline in manufacturing jobs. Table 1 shows gains and losses in manufacturing and service jobs for Tennessee during calendar year 2003. Source: The Nashville Tennessean, January 23, 2004. We have seen many manufacturing firms close their doors and relocate to Mexico, South America, and South East Asia. In Warren County, Carrier Air Conditioning recently announced that it is closing its manufacturing plant and relocating elsewhere, possibly to Mexico. The average wage at Carrier is $17.00/ hour, plus benefits. In Mexico this labor cost is considerably less. It is doubtful that any incentive would even come close to equaling the estimated savings in labor cost. I will be the first to admit that if you are one of the 1,300 workers losing your job at Carrier, it is not very consoling to point out to you that you are simply caught up in a re-structuring of the American economy. In Tennessee more than 80 percent of new jobs are in services. The Nashville Tennessean reported on January 23, 2004 (from information released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development) that for the year 2003 Tennessee’s economy lost 6,800 manufacturing jobs. There were also job loses in Information of 1,200, Construction 4,600, and Trade, transportation and utilities, 500. As for employment gains, 8,900 jobs were added in Educational and Health Services, 500 in Financial activities, 3,100 in Government, 2,600 in Leisure and hospitality, and 4,000 in Professional and business services. When you add the pluses and minuses, it can be seen that there has been an increase of 6,000 jobs to Tennessee’s economy during calendar year 2003. We see a lot of attention in the news media about the loss of manufacturing jobs, and almost nothing is ever said about replacing manufacturing jobs with service jobs In the United States 90 percent of new jobs are in the service sector, and within five years experts predict that 95 percent of new jobs will be in services. Although there has been a corresponding decline in manufacturing jobs and an increase in the service sector, there has been a net loss in jobs in the United States. Table 2 shows the decline in manufacturing jobs. It can be seen from Table 2 that manufacturing jobs increased from 1960 to 1980 and have decreased from slightly more than 18 million jobs in 1980 to about 14.5 million jobs in calendar year 2003. This has enormous implications for any economic development program. First of all, we still have people arguing the merits of manufacturing over services. I have heard experts maintain that one manufacturing job creates five service jobs, and for that reason, that is the direction that we should be working toward. I agree that manufacturing jobs are great, but in reality over 90 percent of new jobs are in services. This I think means that the economic developer should not expend all, or even a significant part, of his time on recruiting manufacturing, but this in no way infers that he should not work with existing manufacturing companies. Another way to look at this is that if 90 percent of the American people eat hamburgers, why would you open a restaurant that serves nothing but chicken sandwiches? When the buffalo were eradicated from the Western plains, the buffalo hunter had to chase something else. We do not need to spend all of our time chasing smoke stacks. And, so, I think that it is unwise to construct speculative industry buildings in cities or areas having a half dozen or more vacant manufacturing facilities. Table 2 20000000 18000000 16000000 14000000 12000000 10000000 8000000 6000000 20 02 20 00 19 90 19 80 19 70 4000000 2000000 0 19 60 NUMBER OF MFG. JOBS U.S. MANUFACTURING EMPLOYMENT YEAR Source: U.S. Department of Labor, February 2004 Service jobs have increased, and the U.S. Department of Labor projects that in the near future 95 percent of all new jobs will be in the service sector. Table 3 shows service jobs from 1960 to 2003. Table 3 SERVICE JOB S 120000000 100000000 80000000 60000000 40000000 20000000 20 02 20 00 19 90 19 80 19 70 19 60 0 YEAR Source: U.S. Department of Labor, February 2004 A review of Table 3 reveals that many more employees have been added to the service sector than in manufacturing. In fact the service sector has experienced a significant increase from 1960 to the year 2000. Since 2000 the number of service jobs have not increased. The economy began a down turn in the year 2000, and in 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center resulted in a trillion dollar loss to the national economy. Not everyone agrees that the recession of 2001 was precipitated by terrorist attacks, but I think that it is evident that the 9/11 attacks represent more than merely a bump in the road. Expert economists seem to believe that the economy is improving now. Tax cuts combined with low inflation and low interest rates have helped to increase the number of jobs. It remains to be seen, however, if service jobs will continue to increase in an improved economy. There is something else that is very troubling for me, and that is that now we are seeing more and more service companies relocating to third world countries. Highly skilled workers have been recruited from Southeast Asia and elsewhere—workers with skills in the sciences, medicine, and computer technology. Rather than recruiting such professions to the United States, American companies are re-locating firms to other countries to take advantage of their high technology skills and lower labor costs. Today you can call your computer manufacturer about a software problem, and a person from India is likely to answer the call. We could spend all day debating the causes for this situation. We could say that it is the greed of the American worker; low tariffs on manufactured goods; or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and possibly other reasons. The fact is, however, that regardless of the causes there are troubled waters ahead in Tennessee, where 40 percent of the working population do not have a high school education. Let’s take a look at some things that Tennesseans can do improve our job plight. IV. A Sound Economic Development Program. Every city in Tennessee should have its own independently operated economic development program or affiliate with a larger county or regional organization for the purpose of adding jobs and creating community wealth. The essential ingredients for an effective economic development program are (1) a professional economic developer, (2) an organized and adequately funded economic development program, and (3) willingness on the part of the city, county, or area to provide the resources to make the community a more attractive place to live. If your city is missing any one of these three ingredients, not much is likely to occur to develop additional jobs. A. Professional Economic Developer. In many cities a professional economic developer is not held in high regard, and that is to say that there is sometimes the feeling that anyone can do the job, because it does not take any special skills. And we see industrial boards and chambers of commerce hiring retired persons to do economic development on a part time basis, and all the while believing that with just a little funding, no special skills, and a little effort, miracles will happen. The fact is that a professional economic developer is a very highly skilled individual. He must be a salesman, a person with skills in negotiating, public relations, finance and budgeting, real estate, strategic planning, must be skilled in the use of computers, and should have the communications skills to help lead the community to improve those resources that potential job providers require and to make the city a better place in which to live. Critical to the success of the economic developer is the ability to develop and maintain working relationships with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA, other federal and state agencies, development districts, the Tennessee Industrial Development Association, and regional industrial development associations. The very best that an economic development agency can do is to employ a “Certified Economic Developer.” There are probably not more than a dozen or so certified developers in Tennessee. They have demonstrated by education, experience, and competence in economic development the ability to successfully develop and operate an economic development program. If the agency cannot afford a certified developer, the next best bet is to employ someone with training in basic economic development or one who has graduated from an extended economic development training program, such as the EDI at the University of Oklahoma, at Georgia Tech, or elsewhere, and who has five to ten years or more experience in economic development. An economic development agency can easily become frustrated by employing a developer with no specific economic development experience that may require a learning curve of from five to ten years in order to become effective. In short, agencies can hire experience or grow experience, but growing experience most often makes job development a much longer process. A qualified economic developer can be the “spark plug” to really make positive things happen in a city, county, or region. B. An Organized and Adequately Funded Economic Development Program. Many smaller cities and counties may contribute from $500 to $25,000 per year for industrial development, and when added jobs do not result, they feel that their money is being wasted. If the program is free standing, you can bet that the city or county is wasting their money. One city in Northwest Tennessee recently reported a contribution of $10,000 annually for economic development—“and that is all our people can afford, because we are a small city”, the Mayor advised the group. To his credit, he indicated that he understands the need for a regional approach to pool resources and develop an effective and sound economic development program and offered to partner with neighboring cities and counties to make such an effort a reality. If your city cannot afford a $250,000 to $350,000 economic development program, then you need to consider partnering with neighboring cities and counties so that your pooled resources can adequately fund a program. A highly trained and experienced economic developer may command an annual salary comparable to the pay for an experienced city manager, and that is likely double a teacher’s salary and more. There is also the matter of marketing the city—developing a marketing strategy, including use of the Internet, trade magazines, and other means of advertising, travel, support staff, and limited entertainment. The developer needs the flexibility to commit resources to make a deal. If a developer has the whole package together to meet the requirements of a prospective employer and is $20,000 short, the developer should have the support to make such a commitment without having to arrange public meetings that may be held from five to ten or more days in the future. A commitment on the spot can make the difference. I know of instances where businesses have bought cowboy hats and quarter horses to successfully obtain construction contracts with Japanese companies. As a former recruiter in East Tennessee, I was in an all day meeting with a Japanese company, and the session went through lunch. Finally, at mid-afternoon, I asked, “Would you gentlemen like lunch?” I was thinking of taking them to Angelos, a private club and restaurant in Morristown, or the Regas, a very nice restaurant in Knoxville, both within 30 minutes driving time. “What would you like for lunch?” I asked. The interpreter, in unison with other officials responded, “Whopper Juniors!” I sent the Public Works Director to Burger King, and we continued working. I tell this story to show you that more often than not, we are really talking about limited entertainment. There are basically two components of an economic development program, (1) recruitment of new businesses and industry, and (2) retention of existing businesses and industry. All of the resources of an economic development program should be directed toward these two areas. As important as we think new business and industry is to a community, 80 percent of new jobs developed are created by existing industry. The majority of the economic developer’s time should be spent in working with existing industries. The developer should make it his business to know whether an existing firm is in a growing or declining industry; about special training needs; additional financing, and tax incentives for expansion. By developing a close personal relationship with key company officials, the economic developer may be well ahead in sizing up problems or opportunities for expansion. One official in East Tennessee related to me that he met frequently with the president of a manufacturing company that made military software—back packs, helmets, and safety vests under government contract. The president indicated that he was considering doubling the size of his plant facility to meet new production requirements. The economic developer suggested that the company purchase the speculative industry building next door, rather than double the size of the existing plant. He pointed out that it would be easier to sell a separate building in a declining job market than to sell the back half of the existing plant, and the president purchased the speculative building. Within this framework, let us look at the requirements for a good economic development program. 1. A Strategic Plan. The importance of a strategic plan cannot be overstated. If an economic development program fails to develop a strategic plan, then it plans for nothing to occur. We must develop overall goals and objectives and measure our success in some fashion, such as the number of new jobs or additional investment in the community. 2. A Marketing Strategy. This is sometimes developed in conjunction with the strategic plan, but it is necessary for the city to understand its resources and make some reasonable determination as to how it may match up with different types of industry. If your city has an abundance of hardwoods, it might want to target those industries that use hardwoods in their products. If your workforce is not skilled, efforts to recruit companies requiring highly skilled workers might not be successful. The best marketing plan is one that identifies what an industry needs and then works to provide the resources to meet that need. 3. A Program that is Adequately Funded. If your city cannot adequately fund an economic development program, do not waste public money by paying what you can for an ineffective program. A regional approach with pooled resources is the best way to develop a program that is adequately funded to do the job. 4. Identify General Location Determinants. Location determinants are determined by an industry’s needs. Often we identify such things as the city’s location, access to adequate transportation, financing, a trained workforce, utilities—water, sewer, gas, electric, streets, telecommunications, housing, cultural and recreational amenities, etc. Keep in mind that a company looking to locate in Middle Tennessee will find several communities with buildings, water, sewer, gas, electric, streets, telecommunications, and other basic infrastructure. If its primary concern is the quality of the workforce, then it is likely that the decision to locate or not will turn on that key factor. If your community does not have adequate housing that is reasonably priced for managers and supervisors, they are likely to look elsewhere. It is recommended that every community analyze general location determinants to determine how well the community measures up and to enable a timely response for information about particular determinants. These are what I consider general location determinants: (a) Location. Location is important for suppliers and markets. Firms want to be within reasonable distance to their suppliers and the markets they serve. (b) Transportation. Cities on or near Interstates and four lane highways and with air, rail and water transportation are generally preferred over areas that are more remote. (c) Financing. Financial assistance with land, facilities, and equipment should be identified. In Tennessee there are small business loan programs with low interest loans administered through the State of Tennessee, TVA, development districts, the Rural Electrification Administration (generally available through electric cooperatives), and local banks and financial institutions. (d) Land and Buildings. This includes adequate land for the industry and sometimes for future expansions. More than one-half of firms looking for a new location settle on an existing building. This shortens start up time considerably, and it is the primary reason that so many cities have developed speculative industry building programs. In today’s economy cities might consider development of business parks with shortterm leases for office space. You might have a dozen or more tenants in one building. (e) Utilities. Analyze the use and capacity of existing utility facilities. If you are at 90 percent usage of your (f) (g) (h) (i) water or wastewater plant and a company is a high user of these services, you may have trouble. Telecommunications. Find out what telecommunications services are available in your city and include that information in any promotional materials. Housing. If the average price of housing in your city is $36,000, and company officials are looking for houses ranging in price from $110,000 to $450,000, your city could be eliminated as a home for the new industry. Education. This is perhaps the most important economic development factor. It has been said that education equals economic development. Advertising materials should include statistics on enrollment in elementary, middle, high school and test scores for standardized tests; availability of community colleges, technical schools, and colleges and universities; percent and number of adults with college degrees, including associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral. Workforce. This factor is closely related to education. It has to do with the skill levels of your community’s workers. As we develop more and more service jobs, they will be unskilled, semi-skilled, or highly skilled, depending on the training and skills of our workers. If we do not equip our people with job skills, I think that it is pretty much assured that their future will be in low skilled jobs at fast food restaurants, retail stores, clerks, and in low paying assembly jobs. The National Association of Manufacturers recently surveyed over 6,000 manufacturing firms and found that manufacturers report their biggest problem with workers is their lack of basic education skills—writing, mathematics, and reading. Workers have to have basic skills before they can advance to higher skill levels. (j) Shopping and Eating Facilities. This factor has to do with community livability. People who are from larger cities and are accustomed to shopping in malls and eating in family restaurants may not be impressed with a steady diet of fast foods. Now, I realize that every community cannot have shopping malls and Red Lobster restaurants. If you do not have these resources available, then you need to advertise a trade off such as a low crime rate, great schools, outstanding recreational opportunities, etc. A business manager might be willing to drive 30 minutes for shopping and dining out, if he can have other city resources that are important to him. (k) Recreation. Describe recreation facilities and services available. Golf courses, baseball, softball, basketball, parks, fishing, swimming, hunting, community centers, and access to major sporting events. (l) Medical Services. You would not want a plant manager and his wife to drive through your city and not be able to find the local hospital. Advertise it and its equipment and level of care. Publish in promotional materials the names and kinds of physicians that are available and include regional hospital facilities and services as well. (m) The Internet. The Internet is a vitally important information tool. Professional industry and business recruiters are proficient in its use, and they can look your city over through a database that you may be unaware of and can discard your community without you even knowing it. It is an important research tool that is necessary for office work across the nation. Many occupations use it all day every day. As long as a community has fast Internet access, location is not a factor in its use. It is important for a city to have a good web site. The web site should be well organized and should open within 20 seconds. The site should be linked to the State of Tennessee’s web site, the ECD web site (specifically), TVA, MTAS (MTAS maintains up to date web site addresses that are often used by state and area agencies), development districts, the chamber of commerce, industrial board, local school systems, and local utilities, if administered separately, It is estimated that 90 percent of the hits on a web site are the result of links. Research shows that most users will not wait more than 20 seconds for a site to open. They simply go on and do not re-visit the site. The site should be well organized and should include statistical information on everything that has been mentioned thus far. I look at web sites in Tennessee occasionally. I opened one site and there was a picture of the Mayor and no information. At another site I observed a picture of the chamber building and no additional information. You do not need a web site, if all you are advertising is a picture of the Mayor, County Mayor, or the Chamber of Commerce or City Hall. The site should be professionally done and should be updated at frequent intervals. (n) Incentives. Without getting into the debate about the need for incentives, I would simply point out that incentives are not important when a company initially makes a decision to relocate. At the point where the company develops its short list of locations, say two or three locations, and then cities have to offer incentives to remain competitive with other locations. At least one State, Oklahoma, gives cash rebates to companies for added payroll. Although questionable, one city in Tennessee gave a cash contribution of $1.5 million for a company to locate there. Most discussions on incentives usually revolve around “tax abatements” and “in-lieu of taxes.” Tax abatement is not legally authorized in Tennessee. That is to say that a city may not require a 40 percent assessment on the market value of one business and 20 percent on the value of another business, or some similar arrangement, regardless of its purpose. An in-lieu of tax payment may be legally authorized in Tennessee. Here you have an industrial board that is tax-exempt actually owning property and leasing it to an industry for some period of time. At the end of the lease period, the property is transferred to the industry for some nominal fee. Industrial boards often enter into contractual arrangements with industry in which the industry agrees to pay a payment, or part of a payment that it would have paid had it been required to pay taxes. This is referred to as an “in lieu of tax payment.” I have used such arrangements in consideration of start up costs that industries often experience. I think that it is reasonable to use a three to five year program, but I would not recommend in lieu of tax programs for more than five years. As previously mentioned, there are loan programs through various federal, state, and regional agencies to make low interest loans. The Economic Development Administration and Appalachian Regional Commission may make both loans and grants for job creation projects of over $1 million. Some cities in Tennessee make loans for economic development in violation of Article 2, Section 29 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee which provides in part: “…But the credit of no county, city or town shall be given or loaned to or in aid of any person, company, association or corporation, except upon an election to be first held by the qualified voters of such county, city or town, and the assent of three-fourths of the votes cast at said election.” III. IV. Provide Resources Necessary to make the Community a more Attractive Place in which to Live. If two communities have the same basic infrastructure, then community livability may become an important factor. The city that commits itself to improving streets, sidewalks, education, shopping, recreation, codes enforcement and takes pride in the appearance of the city will win out in the long run. Cities not willing to make such investments are not likely to expend the resources to develop an effective economic development program with the purpose of creating community wealth. Summary. In closing, I would like to note that economic development is every bit as complicated as managing the affairs of a city. Its success is highly dependent on (1) a highly trained economic developer, (2) an organized and well-funded economic development program, and (3) a city that is committed to providing the necessary resources to make it a more attractive place in which to live. If you do not have a highly trained economic developer, then you need one. If you cannot adequately fund your own economic development program, then by all means help to establish a regional program where cities and counties can pool their resources. And finally, make the investments that are needed to make your city a better place to live. It concerns me greatly that we are a low wage, low tax state and spend a great amount of time extolling the virtue of no new taxes, while Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia make investments in education and technology to ensure their success in the 21st Century. The importance of public service is to make our communities a better place to live, work, and play. If we are unwilling to make the investments, I am afraid that many Tennessee communities may dry up, and our children and grand children will be working in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and elsewhere, while those of us left behind will be destined to a life in low skill occupations.