• If you are thinking about how to deploy a dashboard for your economic development organization, take a good look at the new Performance Metrics platform from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). Dashboards like this are a popular way to share information on government program performance. Economic development organizations are increasingly developing their own dashboards or transparency portals to provide better data on incentive use and program outcomes. The TNECD Performance Metrics platform’s purpose, according to COO Ted Townsend, is to “serve as a valuable resource for...

  • Economic development was the top issue for mayors in their annual State of the City addresses for the fourth year in a row, according to State of the Cities 2017, a report recently released by the National League of Cities. The report explains: 66% of state of the city speeches included significant coverage of economic development issues. Much of the coverage was positive, describing "jobs created and developments built." Wages and employment are generally up, while unemployment rates are down.  The top five economic development topics (in order) were: job creation business attraction downtown...

  • Economic development leaders gathered recently to consider the implications of forthcoming tax abatement disclosures. While considering tax abatement disclosure guidelines in relation to our work as economic developers and the nuts and bolts of reporting and compliance, we spent most of our time on communication - specifically how best to talk to colleagues, elected officials and the public about disclosed data. From the Smart Incentives perspective, we suggest the following: Do now Communicate with government finance staff and/or budgetary officials to share data Consider how multiple stakeholders will use and react to the disclosed...

  • GASB 77 establishes guidance requiring state and local governments to disclose certain information about tax abatement agreements. A recent CDFA//BNY Mellon webcast brought together 3 panelists to discuss the impact of GASB 77 for economic and community development professionals as well as state and local governments. Smart Incentives began the program with an overview of the factors driving interest in incentives disclosure, including growth in the use of tax abatements and increased expectations for data-drive accountability in government programs. We also discussed the fundamentals of transparency and accountability for incentives...

  • 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...

  • Economic development incentives have been on the agenda for many of our colleagues and partners around the country this summer. Here is a rundown of some of the latest work. Darrene Hackler presented "Using Incentives Effectively - the National Perspective" during a webinar for the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). You can download her slide deck here.  The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness kicked off the Data Sharing for State Policy Making and Program Evaluation Initiative, which will help states design and implement plans to improve data sharing in...