Gavin to Gavin

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on

Robert Gavin of the Globe covered our new report Failure to Thrive underscoring the collapse in firm size and the failed policy focus the state has had for 20+ years on relocating firms to Massachusetts.

I hope Kofi Jones (spokeswoman for the state’s economic development office) didn’t miss the point. Yes, Gov. Patrick, and all the Governors before him for the last quarter century, have “support[ed] and retain[ed] home-grown businesses and spurr[ed] innovation in Massachusetts.’’ But most of it has been summits (here insert “regional competitiveness councils”) and talk — and, again, not just this Governor.

Two takeaways:
(1) Governors have long spent way too much energy picking winners and losers (biotech tax credits, film tax credits, etc.) and paid too little attention to the fact that a stable, lower (not low) cost, predictable operating and investing environment is what matters most.
(2) With the myriad of economic development quasis, agencies and offices, it’s really hard to say that the state can even set a strong economic development agenda.

The results are taken up again by Robert Gavin in a separate article on the jump in US GDP growth, which Massachusetts’ lags far behind. Though Alan Clayton-Matthews is likely right about some reporting effects, it is altogether clear that Massachusetts is not coming out of the recession faster than the rest of the US.

The UMass report cited in the Globe report states that Massachusetts’ economy contracted by

Q1 -4.3%
Q2 -1.9%
Q3 -0.6%
Q4 -0.2%

while the US Commerce Department announced that in the last two quarters the US economy grew

Q3 +2.2%
Q4 +5.7%