• State and local governments have begun disclosing information about tax abatement agreements in their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) to comply with GASB 77.* Good Jobs First is tracking disclosed data on its website via Subsidy Tracker 2, a free and searchable database. We offer three takeaways after spending some time with the data and Good Jobs First's GASB 77 Coordinator, Scott Klinger.  1. Nearly $9.4 billion in FY17 tax abatements/revenue reductions have been disclosed. 33 states have reported revenue losses of approximately $5 billion. New York state accounts for $1.2 billion or...

  • Incentives were big news in 2017. The popular conversation was dominated by coverage of the Foxconn investment in Wisconsin and Amazon's RFP for its HQ2 site. Our readers followed these stories closely, but also continued to express interest in ways to use incentives more effectively and responsibly in pursuit of a variety of community economic development objectives. This article recaps our most popular blog posts for 2017.
  • Economic development professionals and policymakers want to know which of their programs work best. However, a lack of data thwarts many state and local efforts to quantify incentive outcomes, hindering program evaluations.  State administrative data that is already collected from businesses -- such as tax and workforce information -- is a potential resource that can be used to conduct these evaluations.   To figure out how to use this resource, the National Governors Association teamed with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness to offer a webinar on "State Data Sharing to Support Economic and...

  • California recently launched the California Business Incentives Gateway (CBIG), which is striving to bring all of California’s state and local economic development programs and incentives together in a single access point. The objective is to create an Amazon.com-type of shopping experience to help the state’s businesses find the exact programs that match their needs. Guest blogger Darrene Hackler provides the details: The California Business Incentives Gateway (CBIG) is an initiative from the California State Treasurer’s Office. CBIG is a comprehensive online tool that provides detail on state and local business development...

  • State economic development leaders have embraced the need to report program outcomes to demonstrate the impact of their efforts but seek better indicators to measure those outcomes. A new paper from the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, Redefining Economic Development Performance Indicators for a Field in Transition, identifies a set of metrics beyond jobs and investment tallies to capture the broader benefits of economic development initiatives. This effort reflects an ongoing transition within economic development as the field moves from a recession-driven emphasis on job creation via business attraction and retention...

  • What are we achieving with our incentive program spending? How do we get the right data on program outcomes? We tackled these hot topics at last week’s C2ER Annual Conference. Economic development leaders are eager to demonstrate incentive effectiveness, but the question often is, “effective at what?” Unfortunately, many incentive programs lack a clear statement of purpose or explanation of expected outcomes. Figuring out what to measure and report on related to incentives outcomes is frequently a challenge. Remarks by Ellen Harpel of Smart Incentives provided the big picture related...