State to Study Urban Potential

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An upcoming study by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. will examine how to make Indiana's cities more attractive to potential investors. Governor Mike Pence's Senior Policy Director Ryan Streeter says the report will focus on issues such as quality of life and industrial site improvements as well as the potential for public-private partnerships. The study is required by a law passed by the General Assembly this year and is scheduled to be complete by October. Governor Pence gave his thoughts on the need for the study during an economic policy speech in December. Below is an excerpt from the speech:

"This brings me to another important point: the economic base of our communities. We have to take the economic vitality of our state’s cities seriously if we hope to remain economically competitive in the future. So I am calling on our Indiana Economic Development Corporation to conduct an assessment in 2014 of how we could raise billions of dollars in new private investment over the next decade for our centers of population and productivity.

Our idea is to bring this new investment into Indiana cities in ways that allow them to compete with dynamic, growing regional cities across the country, make them attractive places to locate new enterprises, and make them appealing for talented workers looking for a place to make a living and raise a family. Over the next year, our economic development corporation will detail evidence-based drivers of metropolitan, economic growth. The goal will be to develop options for financing this new investment in the kinds of things that attract the best talent and the most capital.

It’s imperative that we do this. Our labor force in Indiana is expected to grow over the next few decades at less than half the rate of its average from 1950-2000, and our working age population is expected to decline by 5 percent by 2030.

Research by Enrico Moretti at University of California Berkeley shows that as regions attract more professional talent, the economic benefits expand the services and other sectors of the economy. Wages rise across sectors. Wealth begets wealth, even outside the sector in which it was generated.

Our assessment will also consider how to ensure the benefits of the investments in our cities extend to the outlying rural areas. Research has also shown that income and population growth in metro areas benefit rural areas. When metro areas decline, so do surrounding rural communities."

Source: Office of Governor Mike Pence