Tuesday, September 20, 2005

London high-tech plan to create phoney-baloney jobs

If council could vote only on principles instead of the municipal treasury…

According to the London Free Press, city council has approved in principle a proposal to bring high-tech industries into London, but is not promising — at least for the time being — the $1 million asked for by the proposal's authors, London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC), TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario and the Stiller Centre for Biotech-nology Commercialization.

City staff and officials with the London Economic Development Corp., TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario and the Stiller Centre for Biotechnology Commercialization, will form a transition committee to explain why they need more than $1 million in funding by 2010 to try to bring high-tech jobs to the city. They also will develop an implementation strategy, decide whether the London Small Business Centre should be included and suggest nominees to a new board.

The city-initiated report, titled London's Next Economy, also would see the city set aside $3 million a year to guarantee high-risk loans to new companies, which could lead to a profit or a loss. The three groups, armed with new money and more staff, then would try to lure high-tech firms to the city.
The plan's five-year targets are as bold and inspiring as they are arbitary and incontestable for their lack of methods to attain those targets:
  • Add 10,000 new jobs, quadruple the number of fastest-growing companies and increase the percentage of high-end jobs in the workforce from 28 per cent to 35 per cent;
  • Increase by one-third the number of post-secondary graduates who stay here.
Like public advocacy marketing, or old-fashioned Soviet-era five-year plans, the proposal confuses intent with attainment, subsidizing an assertion that "It will be so" with cold, hard objective cash — yours. The proposal's only articulated strategies are, however, incontestably specific:
  • More tax dollars for LEDC, TechAlliance and the Stiller Centre — an increase of 74 per cent by 2010 compared to 2004, reaching a peak of more than $2.4 million. The money would enable those groups to increase their staff by 39 per cent, from 16.5 to 23,
perhaps not uncoincidentally the very same authors and proponents of the plan. It is conceivable that the only jobs created that can be attributable to the plan will be those hired by the three groups. And,
  • The city would guarantee one-third of business loans to qualifying companies up to a total of $15 million over five years. The loans would be of the higher-risk, higher-benefit variety, […] and the city could make or lose money,
meaning that taxpayers will subsidize the risks, and quite possibly the continued existence, of any companies that set up shop here — subsequently the benefits will likely be negated except to those who land jobs with these companies, whom one must insist are as likely to find jobs with those companies even if they should locate elsewhere. As Mike says,
And the money so thrown away will not go towards creating new businesses attracted by actual demand unsweetened with wasted tax money.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

Kip's Ma says "Biotechnology is the future".