A major part of our nation, state, and municipal governments’ jobs is to promote economic develop in the areas they preside over. A major way this is done according to Levy, is through subsidies. Governments can use them in a few ways. Two of these being keeping companies from leaving, as in the case of Illinois shelling out 178 million dollars to keep Sears from leaving the state, and drawing companies in as in the case of Vance, Alabama putting up 250 million dollars to bring in a Mercedes-Benz plant.
On the Surface this method may look like a no-brainer. All a government has to do is put out some money and in return they will bring jobs into the area. However when 250 million dollars are given out, one has to think if that was the best choice for the area. I would imagine an area like Vance, Alabama could have used that money in many other ways that may have a had a bigger impact than the 3000 jobs it brought in.
A place that is a key cog in my area’s economy is Atlantic City. With many of the casinos closing, the bidders on the closed casinos have demanded huge tax exemptions from the city, which the city has been reluctant to grant. Going along those lines, I do not believe that Atlantic City should use large subsidies or tax cuts (unless they truly are worth the monetary hit), but rather put in place a redevelopment strategy would be better for the city. One strategy that has been suggested is one that is modeled after the way New Brunswick was redeveloped with help of Rutgers and Robert Wood Johnson (the “med and eds” strategy). Atlantic City has Stockton University and AtlantiCare to work with. Governor Christie has expressed his interest in using the same organization that did work in New Brunswick (DEVCO) to implement their town altering strategies in AC. It will be seen whether the city will accept the help and try to change the city. Although it will not change over night, small changes can be made over a period of years that focus on investing money into the town as compared to paying companies to start up in the area. Since it was created in 1976, New Brunswick’s DEVCO has overseen the development of nearly $1.8 billion in projects. It has developed or renovated a series of government buildings, hotels, a community center, academic facilities and student housing for Rutgers, apartments, condominiums, three theaters and even a seminary. The strategy has worked once, so why shouldn’t Atlantic City give it a shot?