Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy -- Could we Need a Strong Compass More?

It used to be that Connecticut was wealthy enough it could get away with a little sloppiness in its economic development policies and programs. Well, that’s just not true anymore. Our resources are limited. Our challenges are formidable. And time is short.

To begin to shift trends, 1000 FRIENDS of Connecticut released a comprehensive set of growth and development policy recommendations in Developing Connecticut’s Economic Future in 2007. Some of those recommendations have since been adopted into Connecticut law, including a recommendation that the State Department of Economic and Community Development prepare and regularly update a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The strategy will include measurable goals for where we want to be in five, ten, fifteen and twenty years and identify ways to track progress toward meeting our goals. (I’ve pasted the relevant text of the bill below.) That plan is due to be delivered to Governor M. Jodi Rell today. Governor Rell has two months to review the plan, it will be in effect when it’s approved or sixty dates after it’s been submitted to the Governor.

We needed a comprehensive economic development strategy when the bill was passed, but we had no idea what temblors our economy would experience between then and today. Do we ever need a strong compass now!

Join 1000 FRIENDS of Connecticut at our Annual Meeting, July 21st from 5 to 7 PM, at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford. We’ve invited DECD Commissioner Joan McDonald to give us an overview of the Economic Development Strategy she submits to the Governor today. We’ll also be honoring Hartford Courant Columnist and Editorial Board member, Tom Condon, our first Smart Growth Champ!

All are welcome. Space is limited. Please RSVP.

Substitute House Bill No. 7090
Public Act No. 07-239
Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) On or before July 1, 2009,
and every five years thereafter, the Commissioner of Economic and
Community Development, within available appropriations, shall
prepare an economic strategic plan for the state in consultation with
the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, the
Commissioners of Environmental Protection and Transportation, the
Labor Commissioner, the executive directors of the Connecticut
Housing Finance Authority, the Connecticut Development Authority,
the Connecticut Innovations, Inc., the Commission on Culture and
Tourism and the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities
Authority, and the president of the Office of Workforce
Competitiveness, or their respective designees, and any other agencies
the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development deems
(b) In developing the plan, the Commissioner of Economic and
Community Development shall:

(1) Ensure that the plan is consistent with (A) the text and locational
guide map of the state plan of conservation and development, adopted
pursuant to chapter 297 of the general statutes, (B) the long-range state
housing plan, adopted pursuant to section 8-37t of the general statutes,
and (C) the transportation strategy adopted pursuant to section 13b-
57g of the general statutes;

(2) Consult regional councils of governments, regional planning
organizations, regional economic development agencies, interested
state and local officials, entities involved in economic and community
development, stakeholders and business, economic, labor, community
and housing organizations;

(3) Consider (A) regional economic, community and housing
development plans, and (B) applicable state and local workforce
investment strategies;

(4) Assess and evaluate the economic development challenges and
opportunities of the state and against the economic development
competitiveness of other states and regions; and

(5) Host regional forums to provide for public involvement in the
planning process.

(c) The strategic plan required under this section shall include, but
not be limited to, the following:

(1) A review and evaluation of the economy of the state. Such
review and evaluation shall include, but not be limited to, a sectoral
analysis, housing market and housing affordability analysis, labor
market and labor quality analysis, demographic analysis and include
historic trend analysis and projections;

(2) A review and analysis of factors, issues and forces that impact or
impede economic development and responsible growth in Connecticut
and its constituent regions. Such factors, issues or forces shall include,
but not be limited to, transportation, including, but not limited to,
commuter transit, rail and barge freight, technology transfer,
brownfield remediation and development, health care delivery and
costs, early education, primary education, secondary and post
secondary education systems and student performance, business
regulation, labor force quality and sustainability, social services costs
and delivery systems, affordable and workforce housing cost and
availability, land use policy, emergency preparedness, taxation,
availability of capital and energy costs and supply;

(3) Identification and analysis of economic clusters that are growing
or declining within the state;

(4) An analysis of targeted industry sectors in the state that (A)
identifies those industry sectors that are of current or future
importance to the growth of the state's economy and to its global
competitive position, (B) identifies what those industry sectors need
for continued growth, and (C) identifies, those industry sectors current
and potential impediments to growth;

(5) A review and evaluation of the economic development structure
in the state, including, but not limited to, (A) a review and analysis of
the past and current economic, community and housing development
structures, budgets and policies, efforts and responsibilities of its
constituent parts in Connecticut; and (B) an analysis of the
performance of the current economic, community and housing
development structure, and its individual constituent parts, in meeting
its statutory obligations, responsibilities and mandates and their
impact on economic development and responsible growth in

(6) Establishment and articulation of a vision for Connecticut that
identifies where the state should be in five, ten, fifteen and twenty

(7) Establishment of clear and measurable goals and objectives for
the state and regions, to meet the short and long-term goals established
under this section and provide clear steps and strategies to achieve
said goals and objectives, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) The promotion of economic development and opportunity, (B) the
fostering of effective transportation access and choice including the use
of airports and ports for economic development, (C) enhancement and
protection of the environment, (D) maximization of the effective
development and use of the workforce consistent with applicable state
or local workforce investment strategy, (E) promotion of the use of
technology in economic development, including access to high-speed
telecommunications, and (F) the balance of resources through sound
management of physical development;

(8) Prioritization of goals and objectives established under this

(9) Establishment of relevant measures that clearly identify and
quantify (A) whether a goal and objective is being met at the state,
regional, local and private sector level, and (B) cause and effect
relationships, and provides a clear and replicable measurement

(10) Recommendations on how the state can best achieve goals
under the strategic plan and provide cost estimates for implementation
of the plan and the projected return on investment for those areas; and

(11) Any other responsible growth information that the
commissioner deems appropriate.

(d) On or before July 1, 2009, and every five years thereafter, the
Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall
submit an economic development strategic plan for the state to the
Governor for approval. The Governor shall review and approve or
disapprove such plan not more than sixty days after submission. The
plan shall be effective upon approval by the Governor or sixty days
after the date of submission.

(e) Upon approval, the commissioner shall submit the economic
development strategic plan to the joint standing committees of the
General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to commerce,
planning and development, appropriations and the budgets of state
agencies and finance, revenue and bonding. Not later than thirty days
after such submission, the commissioner shall post the plan on the web
site of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

(f) The commissioner from time to time, may revise and update the
strategic plan upon approval of the Governor. The commissioner shall
post any such revisions on the web site of the Department of Economic
and Community Development.

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