Day 120: When Should Economic Development Be Public?

Day 120:  When should economic development be public?  A couple of weeks ago a judge in Nebraska ruled that all of the records including emails and financial information should be available to the public when public dollars are used.  Now I know in my home state of Iowa the rules are written that when a public entity or public money is used for a prospect that information remains confidential.  In an earlier post I had written that while working a prospect the information should be kept confidential.  But I do think that if public money is used than when the project is over most information should be made available to the public.  I am not sure all email correspondence and other things that are trade secrets should be open.  But certainly how much money was given or used for the project should be public.  Obviously Nebraska needs to tighten some rules.  Sometimes the economic development world is a little over zealous on trying to leave the perception that all things involved in economic development is top secret.  That is just not true.  Again, once a project has announced, there should be some disclosure of what took place.  But, if the economic development organization received no public monies they are not required to share anything with the public.  So, this is a pretty good case for trying to wean yourself away from public money and try to get the majority of your money from private sources.  Next: 21 Ways to Refocus.

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