Thursday, May 26th, 2011
My latest post is up over at New Geography. It is called Out of the Loop and deals with what I consider a fundamental challenge for Chicago and Illinois, namely that while the greater Loop economy is booming and is everything most of its boosters claim it to be, it still isn’t big enough to carry the city, region, and state on its back.
Since I do a Chicago vs. New York comparison, some of you might be thinking I just want to kick Chicago to validate my decision to move, but actually this one has been sitting in my queue for a long time and I just never wrote it. I was prompted to finally finish it off by some recent conversations I had with various folks around where the city is at the changing of the guard at City Hall.
Anyhow, my view is that we have to focus on creating a more broad based positive business climate in Illinois so that non-Loop businesses, and particularly home grown small and medium sized businesses, can really thrive and add the payroll (and pay the taxes) we need to be fiscally sustainable. Your views are of course always welcome.
In other Chicago news, GE Capital announced that it is bringing 1,000 new jobs downtown. Apparently they are all new and without subsidies. That’s a great coup for Rahm as he comes into office. And more evidence that the Loop economy really is working.
Also, some of you may have seen this Tribune article on the managed competition plank in Rahm’s reinventing government initiative. In it I raise the question of clout influencing the contracting. Let’s be real, in this town that’s always a risk. But to be very clear, I’m a big supporter of this idea and think Rahm should go full steam ahead on it. There’s no reason government has to do everything in house – especially not when there are multiple qualified bidders in the marketplace ready to step up and compete for the work. Which is not to say that the existing workers, freed from many of the rules they operate under, might not be able to put forth a compelling bid of their own. The article did note that I support the idea, but I want to stress it again because I know some think I’m an opponent of these sorts of deals when I am most certainly not.
And part two: