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MI joins NY, TN in Taking a Regional Approach to Economic Development

August 21, 2013

Recently, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced a statewide Regional Prosperity Initiative — a voluntary, competitive grant process for existing state-designated planning regions and metropolitan planning organizations. The plan will divide the state into 10 zones with the intent of empowering local and regional partners to develop a consensus vision and implementation plan for economic success. Under the initiative, all state government departments also will begin serving the 10 regions, enhancing service delivery and encouraging communities to collaborate on a regional basis. Although specific details still are being worked through, starting in 2014, regions will compete for grant funding to support economic development efforts including establishment of regional prosperity collaboratives, councils and boards. The Initiative was signed into law as a part of the state’s FY14 budget (59 PA 2013). Read the Regional Prosperity Initiative FAQ…

Michigan joins New York and Tennessee as states that have shifted their economic development efforts to focus on regional zones. In April 2011, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers agreed to establish a regional jobs plan focused on the creation of 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (See the April 6, 2011, issue of the Digest). In December of 2011, the state awarded, through a competitive process, $200 million to the 10 councils to support job creation projects (See the December 7, 2011, issue of the Digest). In 2011, Gov. Tennessee Bill Haslam also proposed a similar regionally focused economic development plan (See the May 4, 2011, issue of the Digest). The $50 million INCITE plan established nine regionally focused business accelerators to spur entrepreneurship in their coverage area (See the August 24, 2011, issue of the Digest).

During this year’s legislative session, North Carolina lawmakers also considered shifting towards a similar regional prosperity initiative that would divide the state into seven zones according to the Charlotte Business Journal. However, in late July, the NC Senate adjourned for the year without taking action on the bill ( SB 127). Similar legislation was passed by the NC House in May, but a last-minute rider provision that would lift safeguards on fracking doomed the Senate bill. According to another article from the Charlotte Business Journal, The proposed legislation would have led to a major shift towards privatization of the state’s economic development activities including the sales, marketing and support services of the state Commerce Department by moving those duties to a newly created private nonprofit. For more about SB 127 see the June 26, 2013 issue of the Digest

Michigan, New York, Tennesseestate tbed, regions