Retrovision: A Local Expert’s Perspective on Economic Development

This post originally appeared on 10 October 2015.

Here’s what Jerry Pacheco, the Executive Director of the International Business Accelerator, a trade counseling and training program of the New Mexico Small Business Development Centers Network, says in this week’s El Paso Inc.:

Economic development is putting into force the elements that allow for human development, one person at a time – that is my own definition.

I think this is lost when we vie to recruit the next big deal or get a local company to expand. Sometimes, I think we go off the deep end in rushing to create new growth and to cut ribbons without contemplating how this is helping individual people.

Economic development is harnessing the elements you have at hand to put together programs that result in jobs and investment. And economic development, like charity, starts at home. It takes people who are willing to be creative, work hard and face a multitude of detractors to make things happen.

There’s a novel idea. Instead of trying to trick companies into moving to a city with the fifth highest property tax rates in the country, improve the lot of the people that are already here.

(Since the post appeared in 2015, our property tax rates have risen to among the highest in the country.)

Mr. Pacheco’s comments reflect a wisdom and honesty not available in government south of the state line.

The City of El Paso ceded responsibility for economic development to the private sector via an organization branded as the Borderplex Alliance, God bless their altruistic souls. The Borderplex Alliance has boisterously endorsed a plan for regional economic development for the El Paso/Juarez/Southern New Mexico area.

The City of El Paso has a department dedicated to economic development called Economic and International Development. I wonder what they do.

No one, apparently, is solely interested in developing the economy inside the city limits.

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