Madison Needs Jobs
In this column for Isthmus, I argue that the tough times for public-employee unions means tough times for Madison and Dane County unless the community makes itself more welcoming to business expansion.
Among the points I make are:
… economic development should be front and center in next spring’s mayoral and county executive elections. The candidates need to be grilled on their philosophy and proposals.
Yes, philosophy. Much of Madison’s problem is attitudinal. For a whole host of venerable liberal reasons, Madison can be hellish on business.
The problem, says business consultant Kay Plantes, is that too many Madisonians don’t connect the dots. “They don’t see the unintended consequences” of their good intentions.
Give a proposed business expansion the third degree in terms of a lengthy and costly review, and the firm may head to the suburbs with its jobs.
“That’s why we’ve ended up with so much urban sprawl,” says Plantes. “It’s bad for transportation, it’s bad for the environment, and it’s very bad for the Madison school district.”
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