Where entrepreneurs want to live

It’s not places with low taxes or “business-friendly” policies.  It’s places that smart, ambitious young workers want to live.  Nice piece from Richard Florida in Atlantic Cities:

But what really attracts innovative entrepreneurs who create these economy-boosting companies?

The answers: talented workers, and the quality of life that the educated and ambitious have come to expect – not the low-tax, favorable-regulation approach that many state and local governments tout.

These are the findings in a new report from Endeavor Insight, the research department of the non-profit Endeavor, which focuses on fostering and mentoring “high-impact” entrepreneurs. Based on surveys and interviews with 150 founders of some of the country’s fastest-growing companies, the report answers the basic question, “what do the best entrepreneurs want in a city?” It offers basic evidence that cities should focus on factors and conditions that attract the talented, educated workers that fast-growing entrepreneurial enterprises need…

For one, size matters. These top business-creators gravitated towards cities with at least a million residents in the metro area. This offered the scale and diverse array of offerings needed to attract talent.

A city also needs to be able to appeal to the young and the restless. The entrepreneurs surveyed were a highly mobile bunch when they first started out. They moved often and easily in the early phases of their careers, following personal ties or certain lifestyle amenities while also seeking the right environment to launch their enterprises…

Perhaps even more interesting from the perspective of urban policy are the location factors that did not make the cut – those that high-growth entrepreneurs found to be of little consequence in their location decisions. At the very bottom of the list were taxes and business-friendly policies, which are, unfortunately, exactly the sorts of things so many states and cities continue to promote as silver bullets. Just 5 percent of the respondents mentioned low taxes as being important, and a measly 2 percent named other business-friendly policies as a factor in their location decisions…

The report’s conclusion is clear, and I agree. “The magic formula for attracting and retaining the best entrepreneurs is this,” they explain: “a great place to live plus a talented pool of potential employees, and excellent access to customers and suppliers.”  [emphases mine]

Yep.  You want people to move to your state/region– then invest in it so it will have an educated/talented worker pool and the time of amenities talented workers want to have.  Businesses and their educated workers are far more interested in these factors than their marginal tax rate.  Alas, here in NC our legislature is, sadly, doing the exact opposite of what it should be.  But hey, rich people need their tax cuts.

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The Manchurian Party chair?

Okay, despite teaching a Political Parties class, I’m far from an expert on the nitty-gritty of how state political parties are run (I’ve always been much more interested in the voter/party identification angle of parties).   That said, I’d like to think I know a good state executive director when he comes to my class and a buffoon of a state party chair when he acts like a buffoon.  I never had met former NC Democratic Party executive director until he came to my class this past Thursday.  He was awesome.  And he was all about winning elections– something he’s had lots of experience in.  Seems to me, that’s what you want from your executive director.  Anyway, out of the blue, he was fired on Sunday by our controversial state party chair, Randy Voller.  Caught everybody by surprise and Voller didn’t even bother to justify it.  Loved this take at PoliticsNC:

And just when we thought the North Carolina Democratic Party was back on track, Randy Voller reminds us that he’s still chair. Yesterday, Voller, against the wishes of the executive committee, fired executive director Robert Dempsey. Apparently, Dempsey’s gotten too big for his britches, acting like he’s running the party or something.

Dempsey might not be perfect, but he’s the best thing that’s happened to the party since Voller became chair…

It was apparently too much for Voller. He needed to reestablish him self as buffoon-in-chief, since, you know, bad news is better than no news. At a time when Democrats should be rallying around their impressive candidates as the filing period opens, they’re focusing on more drama at the Goodwin House. The timing couldn’t be much worse.

Voller may just be stupid, politically tone deaf and narcissistic. But what if he’s a Republican plant? It’s hard to imagine someone doing more to harm the credibility of the Democratic Party than Voller. 

I’m just being facetious, but given the damage he’s done, what’s the difference?

Yep.  I mentioned this take to a number of very-involved NC Dems yesterday and they all agreed with it.  And Voller’s next step does not give me a lot of confidence:

 A day after ousting the executive director, the chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party appears poised to nominate former civil rights and Nation of Islam leader Benjamin Chavis to the post, a contentious pick that may not earn support from party leaders…

But the potential successor is raising more questions.

Chavis is a longtime civil rights advocate who was jailed for four years in 1970s as a member of the Wilmington 10, a group convicted but later cleared in a fire bombing that spurred a race riot in the city.

He became leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1993 but served less than 17 months after being ousted for striking a secret deal to pay an employee $332,400 to settle her sexual harassment claim.

Chavis, an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, later converted to Islam, taking the name Benjamin Muhammed. In 1997, he became second-in-command to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, leading the organization’s East Coast ministry, according to reports at the time.

Three years later, a woman connected to the Nation of Islam alleged in a lawsuit he sexually harassed her. It was settled in 2006, and the woman received $135,000 from the temple. Chavis did not pay any sum to settle the case, and he made no admission of liability.

Now, I’m no expert on Chavis, but really?!!  You fire a guy who does nothing but campaign and win elections (maybe just a little important for a party, especially NC Democrats in 2014) and replace him with a guy with no campaign experience and huge amounts of baggage?!  But, hey, he’s from NC:

Grace Galloway, the party’s chairwoman in the 8th Congressional District, supports Voller. “I am absolutely thrilled Dr. Ben Chavis is coming in,” she said. “He is from North Carolina. That’s what absolutely makes it all. Dempsey is a nice guy, but he’s just not from North Carolina.”

Now, I don’t really know a thing about Grace Galloway, but I will say that if this is the kind of thinking we get from Congressional District party chairs, this explains why we get a problematic party chair like Voller and diminishes any hope for decent leadership of the NC Democratic party.  Ugh.

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