An Educated Approach to Job Creation
I wish my state legislators, and yours, would hear this message. But they won’t:
Sweet home Oregon, The Oregonian: Alabama thought for sure it had the parking place for Toyota Motor Co.'s new $655 million factory and 1,300 jobs. It offered $200 million in tax breaks and other incentives. But Toyota chose to build in Ontario, Canada, which offered half the tax breaks but a better educated, more skilled workforce. Why should Oregon care? Because Oregon has Alabama's so-so schools and its poorly funded higher education system. It has the same bitter school spending fights in its legislature, and roughly the same per-student funding. Oregon, like Alabama, tries to woo business with low taxes and incentives, not a highly skilled, homegrown workforce. It is like looking in the mirror. … If Toyota were to look at Oregon and consider bringing 1,300 family-wage jobs to this state, what would it see? The only state in the country that closed its schools early during the recession. A state that provides as little public support for its universities as any in the nation. A state that still has no substantial rainy day fund to cushion schools in the next downturn. It would see a lot of what it saw in Alabama. Oregon has spent 15 years now chiseling away at its schools and universities. ... Today there is not one prominent elected official or candidate -- not one -- pushing for a major new investment in education. But there are many who still cling to the fiction that keeping the state's overall tax burden in the bottom 10 or so states will draw more business and jobs than investing in quality schools and powerful universities. If you believe that, we could sell you a place in Alabama. An empty place in Alabama.
Or an empty place in Oregon. I hope you have smarter legislators than we do.
Posted by Mark Thoma on Monday, August 1, 2005 at 01:17 AM in Economics, Universities, University of Oregon |
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