• A recent poll in Virginia yielded some surprising findings about economic development priorities among residents. When asked to choose among three economic development priorities: 47% of respondents selected expanding workforce training and education 25% (!) preferred financial incentives to recruit new businesses, and 23% chose retaining and expanding existing businesses More than half (58%) of the poll’s respondents indicated they are willing to pay more in taxes for workforce training and development programs, but with notable variations along party and regional lines. On the other hand, most were not familiar with...

  • Performance measurement is one of the hottest topics in economic development right now. This month, IEDC will hold a webinar called Measure What Matters: Top Metrics in 2017 (January 18) and C2ER will host a webinar on Promoting Evidence-Based Policymaking by Sharing State Administrative Data (January 25). Our own article on the State Economic Development Performance Indicators White Paper we wrote with CREC was among the most-read posts of last year. (Check it out here in case you missed it.) Given the level of interest, it’s a good time to review the foundation...

  • It’s been another exciting year at Smart Incentives with several great projects, 4 new publications, and presentations that generated energetic conversations. The Smart Incentives blog and newsletters also prompted a great response. This article recaps our most popular blog posts of 2016. 1. 5 interesting elements of the GE incentive deal When General Electric announced that it would move its headquarters to Boston, the accompanying $145 million incentive package received a lot of attention. It turns out the agreement is much more interesting than the total dollar value or cost per job calculations. Here are 5 important points...

  • A timely new paper from Indiana University for Smart Incentives provides an up-to-date look at how manufacturing incentives are used across states. I’d like to thank Professor Sarah Bauerle Danzman and her students for their valuable work, “Incentivizing an Increasingly Automated Manufacturing Sector: A Descriptive Analysis of U.S. States’ Manufacturing Investment Promotion Programs.” Their research: describes incentive tools used to attract and retain manufacturing operations explains the policy rationales for using these incentive programs examines how economic, political and demographic factors influence incentive use Among the paper’s findings: Tax incentives (147)...

  • It is clear by now that this story is not really about incentives. It’s about politics. Incentives were the tool of choice to pursue a political objective, to fulfill a campaign promise. In a strange way, given how controversial business incentives are, the incentives package also provided some political cover to both sides in their highly unusual negotiations. If you are interested in the incentives aspect of the deal, however, it draws attention to a trend we are seeing: incentives for manufacturers that are reducing jobs. Retention incentives for manufacturers...

  • This post is part of an occasional series examining state and local reports evaluating economic development incentive programs.  Here we look at Ohio’s 2016 Report to the General Assembly: Compliance with State Awards for Economic Development, prepared by the Ohio Attorney General. As the title suggests, this report’s purpose is to monitor the compliance of economic development award recipients with agreed-upon terms and conditions.  It does not consider economic impact in Ohio or company actions beyond the performance period.  Here is a summary of key points: The report considers 329 projects in four major award categories...