• Is a 64% compliance rate satisfactory for economic development incentive programs? This article is part of an occasional series examining state and local reports evaluating economic development incentive programs.  Here we look at Ohio’s 2012 Report to the General Assembly: Award Recipient 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...

  • Thanks to Monika Jansen and UberStories for a great interview!  As a business founder I really appreciate the chance to tell my story to a new audience. See the full interview here and check out the other Spotlights as well!

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  • High quality economic development evaluations require trust, collaboration, and good data – probably in that order.  In March I wrote about Montgomery County, MD’s excellent “Review of Montgomery County’s Economic Development Incentive Programs.”  I recently had the chance to interview the very bright authors of the report, Craig Howard and Natalia Carrizosa of the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO).  They described some of the factors that made their report possible: OLO has a reputation for working well with County departments; it is not a “gotcha” enterprise OLO studies are useful...

  • It isn’t the biggest economic development project ever, but the Newell Rubbermaid announcement is worth highlighting because of the impressive win it provides under Michigan’s strategy to emphasize its talent and engineering strengths in its business development program. Newell Rubbermaid announced late last month that it will open a design and innovation facility in Kalamazoo, MI, where the firm will consolidate its product and graphic design capabilities.  Newell Rubbermaid “is a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with a portfolio of leading brands, including Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Grace, Calphalon Paper...

  • Thumbtack's 2013 survey of primarily small, consumer-oriented services businesses offers an interesting take on business climate issues at the state and local levels. First, it finds that licensing and permitting are the dominant regulatory issue these small businesses face. Second, it acknowledges that different types of businesses experience taxes and regulations differently -- something we have found in our past research, but that is usually ignored in business climate debates. Third, availability of "helpful" training and networking programs for small business owners are a more significant factor in rating business...

  • Arkansas is deciding whether to provide $125 million in state financing to Big River Steel LLC for a $1.1 billion steel plant in Osceola that would create 525 permanent jobs.  Facing down concerns that the steel market is not strong enough to absorb the potential increase in supply and threats from Nucor to shift production away from its Arkansas facility, state officials express support for the plant.    The state contribution would take the form of state general obligation bonds to finance a loan and to pay some construction costs. ...