Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Walker-Endorsed Business Plan "Be Bold" Further Undermined - - By Walker

A week ago I explained how Gov.-Elect Scott Walker was undermining a blue-ribbon working group's plan for Wisconsin's recovery and long-term prosperity - - "Be Bold" - -  by rejecting the sort of federal funding Walker had turned down to improve the state's rail infrastructure with a new line connecting Madison with Milwaukee and other leading Midwest cities' economies.

Now there's more evidence that Walker doesn't have a clue about what's in the report because it calls for throughout for the creation of public-private strategies, cooperation and partnerships - - not a revolutionary proposal, by any means - - but certainly a core element of up-to-date governance in an era of scare resources.

"Be Bold" is replete with suggestions about how to better coordinate business with government, and goal #3 gets specific:
"Promote Driver, Export Industry Clusters Through Public-Private Partnership"

"That the modern economy works in clusters was soundly endorsed as a concept in the four Wisconsin Economic Summits of 2000-2003. But that insight never found its way into economic development practice at the state level. It was never implemented in a strategic way.
Rather, state leaders chose to look at the state as a collection of political regions. Regional economic development organizations sprang up, and they stepped in where the state had failed to go. 
They identified the clusters in their respective regions and began paying attention to the ingredients necessary to allow the clusters to survive, grow and flourish.
But the regional efforts need to be reinforced at the state level. Clusters are a collection of players in a given export sector, such as papermaking or medical devices. They create wealth by bringing in dollars from exports. The actors include market leading companies, educators and researchers in the field, government, service providers who know the space, like lawyers and accountants, vendors and entrepreneurs doing start-ups with innovators inside the clusters. It is important to note that without a market-leading company there is no cluster. 
As one cluster proponent said: “Hug a big company today.'" 
Here's the kicker: The Milwaukee-based publication tells us that the State of Illinois is using some of the Walker-sacrificed rail dollars shipped there by the feds to create a public-private rail partnership to help the coming connection between Chicago and St. Louis.
Talgo could have been that market-leading company, since nationally, rail was getting an initial $8 billion boost and train orders nationally will follow. Talgo, with statewide suppliers right here, could have been North and South American supplier, too. 

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