Other views: The key to accountability is securing broad support
We are working hard and making real progress in our economic development efforts in North Dakota. Hometown companies have grown, new ventures have been started and businesses from around the country have relocated here due to the fact that North ...
We are working hard and making real progress in our economic development efforts in North Dakota. Hometown companies have grown, new ventures have been started and businesses from around the country have relocated here due to the fact that North Dakota is a great place to do business; and it's getting better. That is why wages are on the rise and why we have gained jobs over the last four years, despite states around us losing jobs.
We must constantly find ways to improve upon our performance. In the State of the State Address last January I stated that one way to improve economic development is to make more information public, and bring more accountability to the process. We have spent the last six months working with economic developers, business leaders, legislators and the general public to come up with a plan to accomplish our goals without hindering our future efforts.
Accountability measures are not necessarily a new topic. In past sessions we have seen bills put forth with similar ideas, but they were different in fundamental ways. They lacked the bipartisanship necessary to win broad support and had provisions that put our future efforts in jeopardy.
These bills included provisions that would handicap our economic developers and take away local control by enacting statewide mandates. Further, the sponsors of these bills failed to involve the economic development community, business leaders and the public in drafting their legislation.
Under our plan the recipients of state development programs would be required to sign a written business agreement, and report to the grantor the following:
E The number of new jobs to be created.
E The average compensation for the jobs to be created.
E The target dates to meet the goals (2-5 years).
E A progress report on achievement of job and compensation goals.
We have included a "clawback" provision, which would terminate or reduce a company's economic development incentives if their goals are not met.
This plan would apply to incentives at both the state and local level. Cities and counties will be required to maintain records of business subsidies and make them available to the appropriate governing body and to the public in an annual report. This report must include:
E The names of the businesses receiving business subsidies during that year.
E The number of new jobs expected to be created by each business.
E The total dollar value of all business subsidies provided by the political subdivision during the year.
E The average compensation expected to be provided by the new jobs anticipated as a result of the business subsidies.
We have put forward an accountability measure that can win broad-based, bipartisan support, and help provide more accountability information to the public on economic development.
Hoeven is completing his first term as North Dakota's governor. Keiser, R-Bismarck, has represented District 47 in the N.D. House since 1993.