Collaboration across communities to support regional goals can make efficient use of limited fiscal resources by supporting industries that connect us to the global economy. Through their role in planning for and regulating local development, local governments support small but significant pieces of regional markets for retail, office, industrial, and other development types, which house the industries that form the base of the region’s economy. These cumulative local decisions create the region’s communities and economic centers with broad impacts on infrastructure needs, commute patterns, goods movement, and overall regional economic success. At the same time, the economic assets that make up communities' core competitive advantage often extend across jurisdictional boundaries.
Individual communities may find it challenging to play their pivotal role in planning for the region’s economy. The region has some examples of planning for workforce development or forming coalitions to support specific industries. But, local plans often focus on land use and development types, with less consideration of their contributions to regional economic growth and prosperity. Communities respond to the direct concerns of residents and businesses by assessing how solutions fit with community character and goals, public service costs, tax revenue impacts, or traffic and parking impacts. In comparison to economic impacts, fiscal considerations may play an outsized role in development decisions and investments. CMAP research has indicated that economic development that supports higher wage jobs and induces employment region-wide may not generate significant levels of municipal revenue given current local tax policies.  For example, globally traded industries often operate in office or industrial development types, but some local planning efforts are not geared toward these land uses.
Many governments provide economic development incentives to specific businesses that already intend to locate within the region or submarket. Officials use incentives to subsidize revenue-generating development, compete with another jurisdiction, or compensate for weak spots in their overall business environment. This activity can result in public expenditures for limited economic gain. Many communities do provide incentives to developments that meet local and regional goals such as increasing particular types of employment, promoting infill, remediating brownfields, and/or encouraging mixed-use development. Given limited fiscal resources, the region’s communities should coordinate to support regionally beneficial industries and to target incentives for development of regional and local economic benefit. Communities can reduce costs by planning together and pursuing initiatives like establishing boundary agreements, sharing services or infrastructure to mutually support new development, or sharing revenues from specific developments.
The following describes strategies and associated actions to implement this recommendation.