• 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. ...

  • It's not easy to evaluate incentive programs, but Montgomery County, MD, has issued an impressive and impressively honest review of its economic development incentives programs.  Among its findings: 40% of grant and loan program recipients fully met performance criteria Recipients created or retained 87% of the required total projected jobs.  Companies that met the performance criteria exceed their projected job totals, but the remaining companies fell short of their projections by more than 7,000 jobs A sizable proportion of recipients, ranging from 32% to 51% (depending on the grant program),...

  • For promising to bring 2,600 jobs to North Carolina over the next 3 years, insurance company MetLife will receive: $87.2 million Job Development Investment Grant (rebate of state withholding tax on new jobs) $2 million state grant from the One North Carolina Fund $5 million in community college training funding up to $6.9 million from local governments MetLife is consolidating its global technology campus in Cary and its US retail business campus in Charlotte to cut costs.   Many of the jobs will be moving to North Carolina from Massachusetts, New...

  • The key question: How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact?   On the News Challenge: Through this contest, we hope to help extend the spirit of open gov and to catalyze partnerships between hackers, civic innovators, governments, journalists and others. We also want to drive more open government wins in local communities, particularly beyond big cities. And we want to reinforce the idea that the promise of open government cuts across ideological, demographic and geographic lines.  You can submit entries here or look at other people’s ideas here. ...

  • Sunshine Week, “a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information” is March 10-16, with events held all around the country.  The objective, according to the Center for Effective Government, is to educate people on their right to access public information in understandable, user-friendly formats. In keeping with the theme, we should mention that Sunshine Week sponsors are the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bloomberg LP, American Society of News Editors, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. ...