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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is the PDC a gigantic waste of money?

The Portland city auditor has issued a new audit that blasts the Portland Development Commission for lax oversight over city tax dollars. According to the O:

The Portland Development Commission doesn't follow its own policy for monitoring contracts with private builders, so the agency can't tell if affordable housing and other urban renewal projects are meeting city goals, a new audit says.

"To me it raises a major doubt whether the PDC is accomplishing much with all these public dollars," said City Auditor Gary Blackmer.

This time around, the PDC top brass are sassing Blackmer back, but they are all essentially Tom Potter appointees whom Mayor-elect Sam the Tram will be disposing of shortly -- I'd predict before Super Bowl Sunday. At least the head honcho, Bruce Warner, will be getting a nice severance package.

As for Blackmer's larger, more important question about the agency's effectiveness, I'll wager that it will soon be forgotten once Warner and a few others clean out their desks. Too bad.

Comments (4)

Sigh. If only the PDC used its leverage to get good deals for the public.

Someday when I've got some empty hours to fill, I'm planning to do an audit of all the job creation and "multiplier job spinoff" claims someplace. My plan is to go back through workshop and public meeting notes and hearing testimony and claims made in ballot measures and what not, and add up all the "will create X new jobs," or "supports Y family wage jobs" and total up all those claims.

My theory is that, when added together, those claims would put every man, woman, child, and half the pets in the jurisdiction into the work force (and it really doesn't matter where this audit is conducted--I have yet to find a place that doesn't spin this BS to justify spending on nonsense like sports giveaways, etc.)

Pretty much all "economic development" schemes are a waste of money. Those funds, left in the economy as lower tax rates, will result in more and better economic activity.

Government-directed investment, it is simply inferior to private sector investment. That is because government decision makers, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, do not have as strong incentives to invest wisely and do not, for the most part, take the brunt of failed decisions (the current Wall St. scoundrels not withstanding).

Whenever government officials spend other people’s money, they are assuming less risk and have less incentive to ensure that the investments are successful.

Portland should pursue policies that promote investment decisions motivated by market incentives, not political ones.

PDC is net negative on the region.

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