From the CEO: For the holidays, a piece of the government pie

From the CEO: For the holidays, a piece of the government pie Main Photo

22 Nov 2017


Government is big business. The biggest business, actually.

The federal government consumed 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in Fiscal Year 2017, according to the US Office of Management and Budget. For perspective, the combined economic benefit of manufacturing—both durable and nondurable goods—and trade—both retail and wholesale—doesn’t quite keep Uncle Sam’s lights on. You have to gobble up the big brother’s portion of the information sector too.

What about state and local governments? Only slightly smaller in cost than the federal government, at 17 percent of GDP, they are far bigger employers. estimates that local government alone will put 14.4 million people to work this year.

Here’s my favorite tidbit from the Govtech site: If states were eligible, 24 would make the Fortune 100 if states were allowed on the list. California, with its $265 billion budget, would shove ExxonMobil right out of the No. 2 spot. Only the State of Walmart is bigger.

This is not meant to chide government for profligacy. Quite the contrary. Government, as a huge chunk of the economy, should be a huge chunk of economic development. The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation Board of Directors understands this and appreciates the need for a clear voice for our region, particularly in Des Moines. Hence the idea floated in a prior email of hiring a professional lobbying firm. While that remains a possibility for future years, the board, for reasons of financing and timing, has decided on a more grassroots approach for the 2018 legislative session.

Staff and board members will continue to monitor legislative activity. When critical issues arise (water quality, corporate tax reform, workforce development and natural gas availability are a few examples), we will contact lawmakers and staffers to make our opinions known. Partnerships with aligned organizations such as the Professional Developers of Iowa will amplify our voice across the state. We will also be a steady presence at local legislative forums during the session.

A concerted advocacy effort will benefit our investors. We are asking for your help. After the Thanksgiving holiday, an email will go out inviting you to complete a two-minute questionnaire. Please take the time. We’re interested in what legislation you will monitor this year. If you plan a day at the Capitol, we’d like to know that as well.

Since 2010, 69 of Iowa’s 99 counties have lost population. Fully two-thirds of Iowans now live in urban areas. In a system of representation by population, Northwest Iowa could be marginalized. Or, by working together we demonstrate the same regional spirit that 25 years ago created the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, we will stand out all the more.