VOL. 110 | NO. 232 | Tuesday, December 3, 1996
12-3 notes 2005 & TN Op 21
Opportunity 21 time line set, funding uncertain
DEC. 31, 1996 -- Even though Tennessee added 1.2 million jobs
between 1970 and 1994, the state administration has a plan to
further stimulate job growth, increase per capita income and develop
the stateís work force.
The Tennessee Board for Economic Growth developed the six-point
plan and established a series of goals to be achieved in the next
two years. In all, there are 54 specific recommendations geared
to creating a positive business climate.
The plan ó Tennesseeís Opportunity 21: An Economic
Vision for Growth and Prosperity in the 21st Century ó
for example, calls for tax incentive legislation, as well as reduced
regulations to encourage business expansion in the state.
One major question remains: How will the state government fund
Before any action is taken, the board will reconvene after the
first of the year to further flush out the implementation plan.
ìI think the board is going to look at all avenues of implementation,î
said William Dunavant Jr., the stateís economic and community
Another task before the board will be to identify resources to
support the plan. How to fund the plan is to be determined, he
Board members may look at in-kind services, since 1997 is expected
to be a tight budget year.
The plan contains a two-year time line which Dunavant said he
expects to put on line.
ìMy department is going to try to set it up on a computer
where we can monitor certain segments of the planís implementation,î
Each of the specific recommendations contained in the plan has
a suggested start date for implementation. During the first quarter
of 1997, for instance, public schools are to begin teaching entrepreneurship
to students, and state dollars are to be leveraged with outside
In the second quarter, the board recommends expanding tax incentives
for job creation and the establishment of a communications network.
By the end of the year, a business mentoring program is to be
launched specifically for the purpose of sharing advances in science
Prior to creating a time line for specific goals, the Board for
Economic Growth heard from speakers, gathered data, set priorities
and then developed Opportunity 21. All of this was accomplished
in about a year.
Among the goals adopted by the board members were providing public
access to the World Wide Web through chambers of commerce and
libraries, creating a $5 million fund to retrain Tennesseeís
work force and introducing legislation with tax incentives designed
to attract national corporate headquarters.
The executive vice president of the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce,
Chris Clifton, thinks the plan is thorough and timely.
The stateís role should be to create the most advantageous
business climate to take advantage of opportunities for economic
growth, he said.
Opportunity 21ís economic strategy is divided into six
components, including developing a skilled work force, providing
access to science and technology, enhancing entrepreneurship with
access to capital, improving the physical infrastructure, maintaining
a favorable business climate and enhancing economic development
All six components include action steps. One action to be taken
is the creation of industrial academies as part of work force
development. To stimulate more small business development, the
board recommended teaching youngsters about the free enterprise
system in public schools. The plan also promotes business mentoring
programs and making information on venture capital more accessible
However, funding will determine how quickly some of the action
steps are implemented.
Dunavant said the administration would do what it could until
additional money became available.
By GABRIELLE C.L. SONGE
The Daily News