All Print Issues

Fall 2016

Issue #184

A New Look at Economic Development

In this issue, we focus on equitable economic development, with an increased focus on the role of the public sector. After all, billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year to stimulate economic development. Is it going where we think it’s going? Can we find ways to make use of formerly obscure federal sources of funding? Are big economic development investments generating the results we want, and how do we measure that? The answers are not always easy.

Q: Do economic development incentives support small businesses?

A. Not very much. Despite the claims of many states, when you look at the numbers, the vast majority of taxpayer dollars directed to economic development go to big corporations.

Interview with Michael Rubinger, former CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Rubinger was at LISC’s founding and from 1999 to June 2016, he headed the organization, steering it most recently on a path toward comprehensive community development rather than just housing work.

A New Way to Finance Equitable Economic Development?

Big companies discovered the long-stagnant Immigrant Investor Program EB-5 after the 2008 financial crisis. Can community developers bend the program toward their goals too?

Equity

Keeping Everyone Afloat: Is Universal Basic Income the Answer?

Advocates and organizers who deal with the needs of the poor often say it’s not really a housing/food/training issue, it’s an income issue. So what would happen if we just addressed income?

Continuing the Dream

New Communities Inc. was the largest African-American owned parcel of land in the United States the late 1960s. For more than 15 years, it survived attempts at sabotage and other challenges thanks to the collective efforts of as many as 500 families.

Using Business as a Force For Good

B Corps are for-profit businesses that focus strongly on their social and environmental impact. The movement has grown to 1,800-plus worldwide and now cities, economic authorities, and activists are trying to attract more of these mission-driven and worker-friendly companies to help spur economic growth.

Connecting Companies to Business

A Chicago organization is bringing together local businesses and large institutions to promote economic growth.

Organizing

Making Community Benefits Agreements Count

CBAs can be extremely difficult to implement and enforce, which is why a detailed agreement in the early stages of the community-developer relationship is so important.

Who Will Benefit from Port Covington?

Advocates, city leaders, and Under Armour’s real estate arm negotiate a $660 million tax deal and a vision for economic development in Baltimore.

In the World of Community Wealth-Building, Ownership Has Its Privileges

What local government can do to support new, more inclusive economic models.

Why Your Community Should Kick the Subsidy Habit

Corporate incentives won’t help communities thrive, even distressed ones. But nurturing local businesses will save municipalities money and promote the growth of income, wealth, and jobs.

Organizing Strategy

Making a Success of Local Hire

Local hire policies are among the strongest strategies for bringing good job opportunities to disadvantaged communities, but adding more provisions to specifically target those with the most barriers to employment can make local hiring practices even more effective.