Better Together May Be Shelved, But Business Community Still Seeks Collaboration

By on May 10, 2019

From St. Louis Public Radio:  The Better Together plan to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County was polarizing, but there was one aspect that many acknowledged would have been a big win for the region — a single vision for economic development.

Now the question for many economic development leaders is how to move forward with that vision with Better Together being put on hiatus this week.

Experts say that under the status quo, the regional economy has lagged for more than a decade, in part because economic development groups have spun in circles using tax incentives to compete for the same business.

“Really it’s just moving jobs around the region, moving consumption dollars around the region. That kind of fiscal competition for sales-tax revenue really is a waste of our time and energy,” said University of Missouri-St. Louis professor Todd Swanstrom, who teaches community collaboration and public policy administration.

Regardless of being for or against the Better Together plan, many people in the business community agree that in order to grow the economy, there needs to be greater collaboration between the different government economic development offices, as well as those in the private sector. Exactly how that will look remains to be seen.

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