The Failure and Corruption of Economic Development in Michigan

July 11, 2019 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Atwater Brewery

201 Michigan St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Every day across America, state and local politicians make deals with private corporations in the name of “economic development,” using public funds, promising jobs and economic impact. (Think the Amazon HQ2 competition.)

Here in Michigan, development deals go further than ever before while politicians call to “unleash” them even further. We’re told these deals are necessary, and that the jobs would go elsewhere if they didn’t get made. But increasingly, the evidence is clear that these deals don’t create jobs, and just benefit the politicians and corporations involved while imposing real and dangerous costs on communities.

Join AFF-Grand Rapids as John C. Mozena, president of the Center for Economic Accountability, (full bio below) explains what’s really going on in this intersection of big business and big government and how the giant economic development industry uses accounting tricks and bad assumptions to justify its growing appetite for public financing and why our politicians love to play along.

Join us at 6:00 PM to meet and network with other young professionals from Grand Rapids and West Michigan. The talk will begin at 6:30 PM, with free food and your first drink on us.

 


About our speaker: John C. Mozena is the president of the Center for Economic Accountability (CEA), a nonpartisan educational organization that advocates for transparency and accountability in state and local economic development programs. After beginning his career in the early 1990s as a trade newspaper reporter and editor, Mozena became a marketing and public relations consultant and worked for almost two decades with development authorities, trade associations, tourism groups, government agencies, real estate developers, corporate subsidy recipients and other economic development stakeholders. In 2016, he followed his passion for free markets and limited government into a new career in public policy advocacy when he was named the vice president for marketing and communications at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. After leaving that role, Mozena co-founded the CEA in 2018 with fellow free-market activists, and is a member of the organization’s board of directors and its first president. His writing on economic development policy has appeared in the Des Moines Register, Detroit News, Indianapolis Star, Nashville Tennessean, Crain’s Detroit Business and other major media outlets.