by Jason Giulietti
Local government and private enterprise both invest in the economic growth of their communities, and the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) serves as just one of countless examples throughout the country.
As a public-private non-profit organization, the GSMP relies on financial investment from both the public and private sector to ensure our mission to strengthen the local economy and for the betterment of the economic situation of our residents. The return on that investment has been significant, with GSMP helping to secure more than 40 new companies and 6,500 direct new jobs for the region since 2009, resulting in an annual economic boost of more than $2 billion for our region.
Public dollars are invested in economic development organizations like GSMP because city and county governments know economic development is necessary to enhance, attract and retain economic opportunity. GSMP provides benefits to the public sector through growing the local tax base through retaining and expanding the business sector, which results in new jobs with good wages and benefits for our residents. It is with pooled resources that our message can be communicated most effectively, because after all, the efforts of a team far outweigh that of an individual effort.
Helping our region remain competitive as a location for new company expansions is also why private sector companies choose to invest in GSMP. As GSMP helps the local economy grow, businesses throughout the region grow as well. Growing economies translate into increased migration by new residents and dollars spent, which means better long-term business prospects for private companies.
Intentional economic development investment fuels the local economy for improved quality of life. In addition to the regional work done by GSMP, several cities and towns within GSMP’s footprint have doubled down with their own EDOs and EDCs which partner and invest resources with GSMP. These communities know that economic development is highly competitive and communities which do not pro-actively participate in economic development will miss out on opportunities for their community.
Now, while both public and private sectors invest in GSMP and economic development, let me be clear about what this investment does NOT earn for investors for either the public or private sector.
First and foremost, GSMP takes pride in helping businesses of all shapes and sizes. With that said, we cannot be everything to everyone. We are guided by a very detailed strategy which reflects the input of our residents, elected leaders, community attributes and existing business community. The strategy drives a focused and intentional effort to attract businesses that will not only be here in the short term but will grow with our community in the future.
The GSMP is an advocate for the entirety of Hays and Caldwell counties, regardless of the investments made by an individual government entity or individual business. Additionally, location selection is based on fulfilling the needs of the company involved in the site selection process – there is no preferential treatment among investors.
Likewise, GSMP, through the resources provided by our public and private sector investors, is commissioned to market, attract, retain and grow good-paying jobs for our residents. We do this at no cost to companies of any size. Our return is through that company investing in our community and bringing great paying jobs to our residents. There are no “backroom deals” or kickbacks for attracting new businesses to the region. Transparency and accountability were part of our founding principles and remain of utmost importance to everyone who is part of the organization.
In a time where our current economic climate is volatile, economic development is a critical component to ensuring a bright and vibrant recovery. What our community receives when a company chooses to be in the heart of the Texas Innovation Corridor are new jobs and more competitive wages for our workforce and a more robust economy that improves the quality of life for the residents of our region.
And that is an excellent return on investment.
Jason Giuliette is president of Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP).