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VOL. 110 | NO. 232 | Tuesday, December 3, 1996

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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 the program? 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 development commissioner. Another task before the board will be to identify resources to support the plan. How to fund the plan is to be determined, he said. 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 Dunavant said. 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 investment. 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 and technology. 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 programs. 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 to entrepreneurs. 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
PROPERTY SALES 59 59 4,335
MORTGAGES 48 48 4,862
BUILDING PERMITS 100 100 10,251
BANKRUPTCIES 45 45 3,194