• The estimated $3 billion price tag has received the bulk of attention from Foxconn’s announced $10 billion investment to create a liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. Since the actual project parameters, timing, location, and state and local incentive package details are still to be determined, many questions remain about that price tag and the real costs and benefits for communities in Wisconsin. What is not in question is that megaprojects – whether Foxconn, Tesla or others - offer substantial potential benefits but also carry significant risk. Specifically,...

  • 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...

  • The federal New Markets Tax Credit program (NMTC) is designed to encourage investment in distressed or low-income communities.  The New Markets Tax Credit Coalition* recently released its 2016 New Markets Tax Credit Progress Report. The report’s findings are based on a survey sent by the NMTC Coalition to all Community Development Entities (CDEs) receiving an NMTC allocation. 87 CDEs that have received a total of $26 billion in NMTC allocations since 2003 responded. Survey respondents represented 80% of NMTC program activity in 2016. For 2016, these CDEs reported: $1.8 billion in financing...

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  • The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) recently released a report on Bioscience Innovation in the States: Legislation and Job Creation through Public-Private Partnerships. This biennial report provides a good summary of state initiatives serving the industry plus a discussion of new developments and trends by state. Offerings by state 16 states offer matching grants for Phase I and II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to accelerate early stage development 25 states offer tax credits to angel investors or other early-stage fund investors who invest in technology companies including the biosciences 38...

  • 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...

  • 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...