Think the Wall Street Bankers Are Bad?

I was just going over documents which were given to me concerning the revenue and expenses of the Itasca Economic and Development Corporation for the year 2011. As we have seen in recent articles, this is a non-profit organization funded largely by tax moneys.

What do they say that they spend their money on? Here is their mission statement:

“Undertake education and research efforts that support and advance the creation and maintenance of quality jobs for those residing in and around Itasca County.”

This sounds like a pretty good idea, at least until we look at some of their financial data.

From the public records we find some figures which would make the Wall Street bankers which we have heard so much about look like amateurs.

In 2011, the total listed revenue for the IEDC was $606,287, again, largely coming from the taxpayers.

The expenses for that same year, however, were $802,200. A loss of $195,913.

In this same year they listed only two employees. This doesn’t sound too bad, until we add up the combined salaries, compensation, benefits, travel expenses, and training costs. Combined, these add up to $250,559. This is 41% of the total revenue. Wall Street bankers would be proud to be able to use 41% of the banking revenue for these items, especially in a year where the organization LOST 32% of the money!

To rub salt in the wound, although the IEDC has helped selected entities, they have had, as we saw in the article “What Has the IEDC Done?” little or no positive effect on the overall economy of Itasca County.

It would certainly appear that, even though the taxpayers of Itasca County pay so much money for the IEDC, the chief beneficiaries of this money are members of IEDC rather than the county which they have pledged to improve.

It seems as if the two paid employees of the IEDC have accomplished what they promised to do in their mission statement by finding high quality jobs for themselves, at our expense.

The “fat cats” on Wall Street would be proud.

Mike Vroman.

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