By Christopher Robbins
Massachusetts communities can no longer rely on state or federal aid to fill their budget gaps. If communities want to enjoy the benefits of a robust economy, each municipality must become a high-performing, self-reliant economic engine operating on four cylinders: residential, business, public sector and nonprofit. Each cylinder represents an indispensable component of the local and regional economy, employing thousands and fueling millions of dollars of activity through wages, the purchase of goods and services, and the payment of taxes.
Governor Deval Patrick’s Economic Development Policy and Strategic Plan, Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, recommends that each municipality have a “CEO” and team to create and implement an economic development plan for job growth. Cities and towns must learn to take advantage of economic development opportunities and tax revenues. They must understand how to create the optimum number of local jobs, and how their municipal metrics determine their economic well-being. They must know their industry clusters, especially which ones are thriving or struggling, and the decision makers at those enterprises who pay taxes and create jobs. In short, each municipality must take responsibility for its own economic fate.
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