Perhaps the $80 million earmarked for economic infrastructure, workforce training and business recruitment ended up poisoning the sales tax initiative for Wichita voters. But the “jobs fund” arguably was the most urgent and important component, considering the cash and other generous incentives that rivals such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Austin and San Antonio are using to recruit companies. As Roy Williams, CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, recently told The Eagle: “If you take the attitude that ‘They would have come here anyway’ or ‘We don’t need to do that,’ good luck with that.” Having lost 20,000 jobs since 2008 and seen only 0.6 percent employment growth in the past year, Wichita is in no position to take a wait-and-see approach to its economy. – Rhonda Holman
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