“Unlike so many other communities, we’ve cleared our legacy costs,” said Eric Larson, CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “You think about Chicago, which is great competition, but the reality is they have a very significant pension liability that they’re going to have to deal with pretty soon. And that’s going to be all-consuming, just like it was for us.”
That’s part why Detroit thinks it has a reasonable shot at landing the huge Amazon project, as described in a good piece today in Crain’s Detroit.
“Economic developers in Detroit think Bezos can’t ignore the uncertainty of how Chicago and Illinois will dig itself out of its hole,” says the article.
Indeed, and it applies to everybody, not just Amazon — every person and company thinking about leaving or coming here.
From the article: “You’ve got to know what those long-term liabilities are. Because you gotta assume that at some point in time that could show up in your cost of doing business,” said Steve Arwood, the former CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
It’s FIFO — first in first out — when it comes to dealing with crippling liabilities. We are falling further behind. Detroit is ahead. Kentucky, too, is now moving aggressively to cut its impossible pension liabilities. Others will follow long before we do.
Deny, delay, extend and pretend. That’s our mantra in Illinois. It’s not working.
–Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.