Following the example of Phoenix

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 12/03/2004 - 05:49.

The chambers of commerce in the Phoenix region are launching a sensible economic development strategy during the holidays. They are urging residents to shop locally. Although it's too late for this year, maybe our NEO chambers could launch a similar marketing effort next year.

One of the simple lessons of economic development comes in reducing the "leakage" of money outside an economy.

Read more about what Phoenix is doing.

In South Dakota, economic developers have taken a slightly different approach. They are focusing on arts and crafts produced in the state. They have launched a web site to market these products. Read more or visit the site.

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Counting the Hours in Ithaca - $s in Lakewood

There was a cool twist on this posted at Civic-Strategies:

Counting
the Hours in Ithaca

Ever hear of the Ithaca Hour?
Believe it or not, it's a local currency,
printed in Ithaca, N.Y., accepted
by about 400 local businesses and is, apparently, completely legal. (Taxes must
be paid on goods bought by Hours, just like those bought by dollars.) The Hour
is the brainchild of Paul Glover, who printed his first batch in 1991 as a way
of boosting the flagging local economy. (To learn more, visit the Ithaca Hour
web site by clicking here.) Slowly, the idea
has caught on. Local currency boosters say there are now about 20 other cities
around the country passing around some kind of home-grown greenback. Latest to
consider it: The Cleveland suburb
of Lakewood, where city council member Denis Dunn is pushing for a currency
he'd like to call "the
Kirtland," after a prominent 19th century resident. What's the benefit? Local
currencies are intended to keep money circulating locally, and the more times a
dollar "turns over" locally (that is, is used to buy local goods and services
rather than stuff sold by out-of-town companies), the wealthier the community
becomes, economists say. "Since this is money with a boundary around it, it
bounces around," Glover explained. "It shakes more hands than dollars do." What
does it take to start a hometown currency? Basically, a "bank" to exchange
dollars for local scrip (a bookstore pays the role in Ithaca, Lakewood promoters
want to use the chamber of commerce), a respectable number of merchants willing
to accept it, and citizens willing to spend it. Nice side benefit, said Glover,
is that people get to know their hometown businesses. "It helps weave people
together as fellow community members," he said. Footnote: So
what's an Hour worth? $10.
It's also available in
Quarter Hour and Half Hour denominations. Why called Hours? In 1991, it was
thought that most people's hourly wage would
be about $10.