The Midwesterner has a blog post up on a territorial review the OECD will be doing on the Chicago region. One of the problems it will encounter is a parochial attitude between Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan which has served to inhibit the areas of those states around Chicago from working together. Generally, the political impulse is to to fight one another to poach each others’ businesses rather than working together to make a region that can compete globally.
It’s a good post over all, but what caught my eye was our old friend Mitch Roob, who you might remember from such cautionary tales as “Privatizing welfare eligibility evaluations” and “Phantom economic development success stories.”
At least the state governments of Illinois and Wisconsin agreed to take part in the OECD study, although given their past record, I’m surprised they were invited. Not Indiana, which apparently is under the impression that the main challenge to its depressed economy comes from Illinois, not China.
The Chicago Tribune quoted the Indiana Commerce Secretary, Mitch Roob, as saying “we don’t do studies, we do deals,” which pretty much epitomizes the parochialism that cripples so much Midwestern economic development. Roob later told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that, because it’s trying to filch businesses from Illinois, Indiana can’t cooperate in a project that could strengthen both states. “Until Illinois gets its fiscal house in order, we are being forced to differentiate ourselves,” he said.
As the Journal Gazette noted, whatever Roob is doing isn’t working. “The state,” it said, “ranks 42nd in the nation for per-capita income, down from 33rd in 2000.”
The hot streak continues.