Policies to boost innovation, competitiveness and job creation are top priorities for the nation’s governors. State economic development agencies play a large role in making and implementing those policies and, accordingly, how states will rebound from the recession that ended in 2009. State leaders seeking to lay the foundation for renewed economic prosperity should try to ensure that such agencies function as effectively and efficiently as possible, so that the economic recovery brings with it strong growth and high-paying jobs.
The fact that states are now facing daunting economic challenges makes it easier to muster broad support for transforming their economic development agencies. Governors have a unique opportunity to review the economic landscape and to propose critical changes that would not have been feasible in the past. Within the past two years, at least 12 states have created new entities focused on economic development or have consolidated existing agencies to streamline their approach to economic development.