Posts Tagged ‘Economic Development’

Shop Local; Buy Local (Infographic)

Shop Local; Buy Local Supports Your Community

Buy Local ImageBy Tom Barrett

Over the last several years there has been a lot of discussion about the economic advantages of shopping and buying from local merchants as oppoosed to “Big Box” national retailers. The Lincoln Institute of Lands Policy released a report, Tax Breaks for Big Business is Bad Policy, that details why economic development in the form of tax breaks does not work.

From a consumer’s point of view, it is hard to resist the benefits provided by national retail chains. National chains have the marketing, the products, and in many cases, due to their purchasing power, much lower prices. 

Local merchants usually do not offer the selection of products or the lower price points of national chains. However, when all aspects are considered, as this info graphic illustrates, your local merchant contributes 3½ times more money to your community than does the national chains.

Local Merchants are at a Competitive Disadvantage Supported by Local Tax Payers

Additionally, with the economic incentives and infrastructure improvements provided by the local and state governments, the national retailers enjoy  an economic advantage over your local merchant. A friend of mine owns a small manufacturing firm on the East coast. The firm is opening a branch operation in Chicago. The City of Chicago is giving this firm an incentive in the form of an annual $15,000 tax abatement over the next ten years. The local businesses, who have been paying taxes for years, do not enjoy this economic benefit. The City of Chicago is helping to finance additional competition supported by the local tax payers. I am sure most of the local businesses are not truly aware of the impact on their business.

Focus on Real Estate or Focus on People

Too much economic development has focused on developing the real estate and not on developing people. True economic development focuses on building strong communities. Strong communities are developed with the support and participation of the local residents.

The New York Times recently published an excellent article on the failure of local movement incentives to create jobs or have any effect on the local economy other than to give away local tax dollars. $80 billion a year is given away to attrack or retain large companies. This amounts to $10,000 each year for the almost eight million firms in the United State with payroll. Here is an excerpt from the article:

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price, New York Times, December 1, 2012.

As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price, New York Times, December 1, 2012.

There is much more to this discussion than presented here and I would love to hear your comments.

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CustomMade Buying Local Infographic

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent Infographic by CustomMade

Tom Barrett to speak at Society of Women Engineers Meeting

Chicago — Local environmental expert Tom Barrett will speak at a meeting of the Society of Women Engineers meeting at the Illinois Institute of Technology, September 29, 12:50 to 1:40. His presentation, “Women as Change Agents in the Emerging Green Economy,” will help to educate and empower young women, and teach them how they can make a difference in their professional careers.

“Women are a critical part of the green revolution,” said Barrett. “I’m excited to talk to these young engineers about how they can make a positive impact in environmental engineering.”

For more information about the Society of Women Engineers, please visit

USDA Announces Assistance Program for Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers

Indianapolis, May 11, 2010 – Julia A. Wickard, Executive Director of USDA’s Indiana Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that orchardists and nursery tree growers can begin applying for benefits under the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Signup began Monday, May 10, 2010, at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.

“This program helps our orchardists and nursery tree growers replant and get back on their feet after natural disasters,” said Wickard. “TAP is one of many disaster programs offered by USDA to assist producers impacted by disaster.”

The Tree Assistance Program provides help to orchardists and nursery tree growers who produce trees, bushes and vines for commercial purposes to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. The 2008 Farm Bill expanded eligibility to include Christmas tree and nursery tree growers that were ineligible under prior legislation. Trees grown for pulp or timber or not grown for commercial purposes are not eligible.

To be eligible for TAP, producers must have suffered more than a 15 percent death loss due to the natural disaster after adjustment for normal mortality. TAP is a cost-reimbursement program, with payments covering up to 70 percent of replant costs and 50 percent of pruning, removal and other costs for replacing or salvaging damaged trees.

Producers can receive assistance for up to 500 acres of trees, bushes or vines. Producers must also have purchased a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or for 2008, obtained a waiver of the risk management purchase requirement through the buy-in provision. Eligible losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011.

For more information on the new TAP program, please contact your county FSA office or the website at

Tree Planting Bill in Congress

Consider supporting H.R. 4509: Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance The purpose of this bill is of reauthorize the national small business tree planting program. In my opinion, this bill will plant trees, create jobs and build the local economy.

Here is the information from the Indiana Urban Forestry Council’s website:

It has come to our attention that HR 4509, the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act of 2010 has been introduced. This resolution is an offshoot of the former SBA Tree Planting Act funded in the 1990’s. In short, the program provided grants to small businesses to plant trees in cities and towns, providing both the benefits that urban trees provide, while at the same time pumping millions of dollars into nursery and landscaping industries. This is truly a win-win program for cities and towns.

Please take a moment to call or email Senator or Congressman asking him or her  to consider supporting HR. 4509.

Here is a link:

Also, here is link to a video which provides more information about the resolution.