Steve Etcher Testifies on Federal Economic Development Issues
On July 27, NADO Secretary Steve Etcher, Executive Director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission in Warrenton, Missouri, testified before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, on the importance of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), held the oversight hearing, “The Economic Development Administration: How to Improve Effectiveness through Reforms and Consolidations,” to examine ways to improve federal economic development programs, including EDA collaboration and potential consolidation with other federal programs. This was the first EDA oversight hearing by the subcommittee in the 112th Congress.
In his testimony, Etcher discussed how EDA is unique among the federal portfolio of economic development programs and how EDA is positioned to be the lead federal economic development agency. “As GAO noted earlier, there are currently more than 80 federal programs related to domestic community and economic development,” he said. “While many of these line-item programs are housed within larger departments and agencies, EDA is the only federal agency with the sole mission of creating high quality jobs in the United States.”
Etcher also identified opportunities for reforms and improvements across the full spectrum of federal community and economic development programs. “Rather than focus solely on opportunities across the four major departments of Commerce, HUD, USDA and SBA as outlined in GAO’s May 2011 report, we see greater opportunities for agencies and programs within each of the departments to be streamlined, better coordinated and reformed.” He also stressed the importance of “coordinating and prioritizing federal community and economic development investments based upon regionally-based, locally-driven comprehensive economic development strategies or CEDS.”
More information on the hearing, including testimony and a recording of the hearing, can be found here.