Colorado Publications

Early Tax Abatement Disclosures Under GASB 77: Incomplete, Mislabeled -- and Occasionally Spectacular

by Greg LeRoy
Published: June, 2017

As of early June 2017, more than a dozen local governments have issued Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) reporting for the first time how much revenue they lost to economic development tax break programs. Some are overly narrow, others needlessly difficult to decipher -- and a few provide taxpayers outstanding new information.

Link to full story

States Featured:
by Kasia Tarczynska
Published: March, 2017

More than half of the nation’s 50 biggest cities and counties still fail to disclose online even the names of the companies receiving property tax abatements or other costly economic development incentives.

full report

press release

Sprawl vs. Unions

by Greg LeRoy
Published: January, 2015

The three very different stories of Building Trades union members in Atlanta, Denver, and Portland, Ore., show just how much urban development patterns affect workers.

full text

States Featured:

Putting State Pension Costs in Context

Published: January, 2014

Public pensions are under assault throughout the United States. Led to believe that retirement costs for government workers are out of control, governors and legislators in numerous states have been moving to cut benefits and tighten eligibility requirements. Good Jobs First seeks to put current pension costs (known as employer normal costs) into comparative context. Focusing on 10 states where the pension cost controversy has been intense, we compare those costs to the amount of revenue those states lose each year as the result of economic development subsidies offered to corporations as well as the tax preferences and accounting loopholes (including offshore tax havens) used by companies.

Press release

National summary
Arizona
California
Colorado
Florida
Illinois
Louisiana
Michigan
Missouri
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania

Combined version of national and state papers

Show Us the Subsidized Jobs: An Evaluation of State Government Online Disclosure of Economic Development Subsidy Awards and Outcomes

by Philip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Kasia Tarczynska, Elizabeth Bird and Greg LeRoy
Published: January, 2014

More states than ever are disclosing company-specific information on economic development subsidies, but the quality of the transparency is highly uneven.

Press release
Full report
Executive summary
Table of links to state disclosure websites
State appendices with scoring details

by Peter Fisher, with a preface by Greg LeRoy
Published: May, 2013

Prominent studies that purport to measure and rank the states’ “business climates” are actually politicized grab-bags of data. They contradict each other wildly, have no predictive value, and should not be used to inform public policies. This is only the third such analysis of pseudo-social science “business climatology” in 27 years.

Paying Taxes to the Boss: How a Growing Number of States Subsidize Companies with the Withholding Taxes of Workers

by Philip Mattera, Kasia Tarczynska, Leigh McIlvaine, Thomas Cafcas and Greg LeRoy
Published: April, 2012

States are increasingly using the withholding taxes of their workers to subsidize companies. This is justified in the name of job creation, but payments often go to firms that simply move existing jobs from one state to another, or to ones that threaten to move unless they get paid to stay put.
Overview
Press release
Executive summary
Full text of report
Appendix: subsidy program descriptions
Spreadsheet list of companies receiving subsidies linked to personal income tax revenue

by Philip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Andrew Seifter and Kasia Tarczynska
Published: January, 2012

This companion report to our Money for Something and Show Us the Subsidies studies evaulates state subsidy programs on their use of clawbacks and other penalties in enforcing job-creation, job quality and other performance standards.Press release. Executive summary. Full report with appendices. Full report without appendices. Appendices.

by Greg LeRoy with nine contributors
Published: December, 2011

Based on two community-labor “boot camps,” this first-ever manual features inspirational stories of creative grassroots campaign victories. Plus links to strategic resources and a national directory of rider groups. Press release.

by Philip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Andrew Seifter and Kasia Tarczynska
Published: December, 2011

This follow-up to our Show Us the Subsidies report evaluates state subsidy programs on their job-creation and other performance requirements as well as their job quality (wage and benefit) standards. Press Release. Full Report. Executive Summary. Appendices.

by Philip Mattera with Leigh McIlvaine
Published: November, 2008

In this report Good Jobs First reveals that retailers in 26 states are being allowed to "skim" more than $1 billion a year as compensation for collecting sales taxes on behalf of state and local governments. The biggest impact is felt in the 13 of those states that put no ceiling on the amount of compensation any given retail company can receive, thus giving a windfall to the likes of Wal-Mart. Press release

by Philip Mattera, Allison Lack and Karla Walter
Published: August, 2007

Good Jobs First has found that General Growth Properties, the country's second largest owner and operator of shopping malls, has drained more than $200 million in revenues from local governments around the country. This is the main finding of a study of economic development subsidies received by GGP as well as the company's frequent challenges to its property tax assessments.

by Phil Mattera and Greg LeRoy
Published: November, 2003

This report, for the first time we believe, begins to provide evidence that the job-related arguments against smart growth are dead wrong. Rather than diminishing the number of construction jobs, it turns out that smart growth is in many ways better than sprawl in creating employment for workers who build residential and commercial structures as well as transportation infrastructure.

States Featured:
by Alyssa Talanker and Kate Davis
Published: August, 2003

This report examines legislative changes to two geographically targeted economic development programs: tax increment financing (TIF) and enterprise zones. It asks the question: Have laws governing these programs been weakened to permit the use of these programs in non-blighted or affluent areas? In virtually every state that has weakened its TIF or enterprise zone program, the answer is "Yes."

by Greg LeRoy

No More Candy Store is the original compilation of grassroots remedies for corporate welfare abuse -- remedies like money-back guarantee "clawbacks," requirements that subsidized companies pay fair wages and benefits, rules for full disclosure, environmental protection and "anti-piracy" safeguards against "paying Peter to rob Paul" with taxpayers money. Verbatim passages from all of the nation's best state and local laws and contracts, ready-made for activists, legislators and anyone seeking to make economic development subsidies accountable.