Editorial: Ineffective economic development

A common reference is that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Tulsa spends millions and millions of taxpayer funds every year to prop up the regional chamber, a private organization that does not publish its financial records. The chamber gets most of the Tulsa hotel tax.

What does the city get for spending all these millions?

Not much.

Tulsa needs to diversify its economic base yet the chamber has been totally ineffective in keeping major employers like State Farm and Citgo from closing up shop and leaving town.

Mayor G.T. Bynum made his first mistake in economic development by naming ex-Mayor Kathy Taylor, a diehard liberal Democrat, his chief of economic development.

Now Bynum has hired Kian Kamas, the vice president of economic development for the regional chamber, as the new “deputy chief of economic development.”

Big titles, big salaries, tiny results.

Bynum claims there is a renewed interest from large businesses to relocate or expand in Tulsa. He hasn’t mentioned any by name.

This looks like more of the same – power lunches and meaningless business trips financed by public money.

Unlike Broken Arrow, Owasso, Bixby or Jenks, Tulsa doesn’t have a chamber of commerce. What we have is a “regional chamber” that uses Tulsa money for area promotion.

It would be a lot more effective if the contract with the chamber were put out for bid and given to a business with some accountability. Better yet, that hotel money should be kept in cityc offers and the city could have its own economic development staff.

But that won’t happen because the regional chamber is entrenched in Downtown politics and with the help of the local liberal media, Tulsa will keep wasting money on schemes that don’t pay off.