As the stewards of central Ohio’s economic-growth strategy, Columbus 2020 conducts business outreach to companies in the 11-county Columbus region and around the world. We promote the Columbus region and its various communities to growing companies to create awareness and generate local employment opportunities.

Communities, like nations, want healthy economies and jobs for their citizens to maintain and improve their quality of life over the long term. To say that it is a difficult task is an understatement.

Economic and employment growth are required to fund infrastructure and education assets needed to maintain the quality of the community. Finding the right recipe to induce growth in the short term to achieve positive long-term results is, and should be, a dialogue that community leaders — both public and private — consistently have with residents.

Long-term success requires careful planning and, from time to time, tough decisions. Communities have physical and financial constraints that shape these decisions and they must creatively build new opportunities and capacity for future growth. This often requires forgoing some short-term revenue to achieve results, squeezing public finances even in times of great growth.

Providing incentives to help companies expand is necessary to reduce costs and compete with other communities and states also trying to grow and prosper. These incentives can be a powerful tool to build a sustainable tax base and contribute to the area’s economic and cultural diversity.

The use of public and private incentives helps level the playing field with other communities and states that have different tax structures. These incentives can help mitigate costs for businesses and their use is most beneficial when they align with a community’s well-planned development strategy to result in a healthy return on investment.

When incentives are provided, companies locating in our region benefit for a specified time. In return, the communities attracting these companies benefit from increased capital investment and job growth, leading to higher tax revenues to support local services.

The New Albany International Business Park is an excellent example of the economic value generated by attracting businesses that invest in the community and create careers for residents.

These companies have come from all over the world and are helping to fuel local infrastructure development and city and educational services. New Albany’s progressive, forward-leaning philosophy has helped to attract these businesses. It is a good example of the pro-business attitude so many central Ohio communities have developed to compete in the global economy.

The Columbus region has a diverse, growing economy and population base. Growth is poised to continue due to a young, educated workforce, aggressive economic-development efforts and geographic and institutional advantages.

Job creation is a critical factor in moving everyone — our local communities, our region and our state — forward. Communities that actively work to build business partnerships are creating a better region for all of us.

By Kenny McDonald
This Week Community News