The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 16, 2014

City officials not making the right economic moves

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

The following is in response to Edd Painter’s recent letter, “NEDC making right incentive moves.”

Mr. Painter has it wrong. Neither the Norman Economic Development Coalition (NEDC) nor the city did its homework on the IMMY deal.  As Councilmember Jungman pointed out in an earlier letter, the NEDC attempt at fiscal impact analysis was rife with both calculation and conceptual errors.  Mr. Painter not only fails to rebut these points; his letter suffers from similar mistakes.

The main conceptual error in Mr. Painter’s analysis was his thinking that the property would stay fallow if the IMMY deal wasn’t done. The NEDC has already spent a good deal of money making this site attractive to firms. It is a prime location with great infrastructure. IMMY is a well run firm, so it wouldn’t move to a marginal location for a mere $770,000. These facts point to the conclusion that IMMY was likely to purchase the property even without the discount (they can’t admit this, of course, without also admitting that they ‘put one over’ on Norman).  

It is vital to see that even if IMMY had passed on the property, some other firm would have made the purchase.  On the assumption that the NEDC did its job in preparing the site, the marginal cost of losing IMMY itself would be minimal.  To put it more bluntly, if IMMY in particular was really the linchpin for the whole development then the NEDC put the city in a terrible position and we need to get a new outreach organization.

Even if the foregoing is wrong, it wouldn’t be clear that the IMMY deal was worth making.  It is entirely possible that we would have been better off leaving that part of the TIF empty rather than paying someone to occupy it.  We don’t have any decent evidence to establish that attracting IMMY to the site with a discount was superior to leaving the site undeveloped.  

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014