Wisconsin Publications

Foxconn’s $3 Billion Tax-Break Deal Is A Loss For Smart Jobs Policies

by Greg LeRoy
Published: July, 2017

In this article posted on the Fast Company website, Greg LeRoy argues that the biggest jobs deal yet to be announced during the Trump administration exemplifies everything that’s wrong with our nation’s economic development system. Full text.

States Featured:
by Thomas Cafcas and Greg LeRoy
Published: December, 2016

States and localities have given retail juggernaut Amazon almost a quarter-billion dollars in economic development subsidies in the past two years for warehouses the company must build to fulfill the rapid-delivery service tied to its Amazon Prime business model. 

Full report

Press release

update blog: Amazon's 100,000-Job Claim: Will Taxpayers Bankroll Retail Job Churn?

Amazon Tracker: Counting Subsidies to Amazon

BP and Its Brethren: Identifying the Largest Violators of Environmental, Health and Safety Laws in the United States

by Philip Mattera
Published: October, 2015

This report analyzes the data assembled in Violation Tracker, a new database on corporate misconduct created by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First.

full report

press release

Violation Tracker database

Shortchanging Small Business: How Big Businesses Dominate State Economic Development Incentives

by Greg LeRoy, Carolyn Fryberger, Kasia Tarczynska, Thomas Cafcas, Elizabeth Bird and Philip Mattera
Published: October, 2015

Governors and state legislators routinely praise small businesses for their contributions to economic growth and job creation, but states actually give big businesses the dominant share of their economic development incentive awards.

press release

full report

In Search of A Level Playing Field: What Leaders of Small Business Organizations Think About Economic Development Incentives

by Carolyn Fryberger et al.
Published: September, 2015

A national survey of leaders of small business organizations reveals that they overwhelmingly believe that state economic development incentives favor big businesses, that states are overspending on large individual deals, and that state incentive programs are not effectively meeting the needs of small businesses seeking to grow. 

full report

press release

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

Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs: The Failures of Privatized State Economic Development Agencies

by Greg LeRoy, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Kasia Tarczynska and Philip Mattera
Published: October, 2013

The moves by some states to outsource economic development functions to “public-private partnerships” have, by and large, become costly failures characterized by misuse of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest, excessive executive pay and bonuses, questionable subsidy awards, exaggerated job-creation claims, lack of public disclosure of key records, and resistance to basic oversight.

Full report   Press release

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.

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 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, Leigh McIlvaine, Thomas Cafcas and Caitlin Lacy
Published: January, 2011

Governors in several states are pushing for the privatization of their economic development agencies. Public-Private Power Grab reviews the track record of states that have already taken this step and finds a history of performance problems, scandals and diminished accountability. Full reportPress release.

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 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 Sara Hinkley and Fiona Hsu
Published: September, 2000

A comprehensive summary and database of 122 state performance audits of economic development programs of the last decade.

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.