134- State of the Rural Economy


My state has a County Treasurer Association.  I was asked to give an outlook speech to this group.  How is the rural/agricultural economy?  Where are taxes and resources headed?  Some counties are tax cap counties, where does that leave them?  Sales tax revenue, video gambling, income tax, what is happening with these?  Will there be a property tax freeze?  What is the future of all levels of government in my state?  What are the trends in rural issues?  What are the trends in rural politics?  Global issues and oil prices and interest rates?

These were the questions they had asked me ahead of time and gave me an hour.  I talked for about 40 minutes then had a back and forth question and answer session for the final 20 minutes.  Oh by the way I was between them and lunch so I had to be on time.  One of the County Treasurers listens to my periscopes and has listened to my podcasts.  He enjoyed my bigger picture of events and how it relates back to the farm.  Well how about bigger events and how it relates to County Government.

My background in this.  I am Chairman of my local Regional Planning Commission.  I have been on the County Economic Development Committee.  My wife is on the Zoning Board of Appeals.  I ran for multiple local elected positions, and was never defeated.  2 terms local school board, 3 terms Township Trustee, 2 terms Township Supervisor, and then my work at USDA.  Been around, seen a lot, and have many contributors to my periscopes with very good information.  I asked for ideas from listeners to my periscopes and really got tons of good information from the “Smartest Audience In Agriculture”.

This podcast will be a long one, but I hate to leave out good information.

Topics I will discuss.

Agricultural Economy

Small Town Manufacturing and Business

International City Halo Effect

Smaller regional city influence

University Influence,some good-some not so good

Out in the middle of no where internet and cell phone service

Talent leaving

Old people business / Retirement centers / Nursing Homes

Smart Downsizing – this is really important in many rural areas.  Consolidation is a scary word, contract for services, and if you were organizing your state today would it look like it does?  Would the states look like they do?

Competition from other states, 30 mile ghost zone.

Future of taxes

Democrats still losing nationally but not in my state.  Not all rural areas are in rural focused states, some states have a very large urban area that dictate what happens in the rural areas of your state.

Rural and urban areas further apart in their outlook on life than ever.  Progressive liberal versus very conservative and that is just social issues.

Student loans and the cost of an education.  Historically rural jobs pay less, which means less money to pay off student loans.

$15 minimum wage, urban/rural effects.

Cheap labor

Low interest rates

Drugs in rural areas

Retail stores closing

Real estate investment trusts starting to own more land and other absentee landlords.  What is their view on property taxes?

Influence of the Affluent- the truly rich are generally not focused on or live in rural America, the people that fund lots of things.

Pensions if you work in government what should you do

As you can see lots to discuss.  I really ran through it with a live speech and condensed some of this.  I will take a little more time and expand on some of this.

Thanks for listening

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