About Us

About Us

Good Jobs First is a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. We provide timely, accurate information on best practices in state and local job subsidies, and on the many ties between smart growth and good jobs. Good Jobs First works with a very broad spectrum of organizations, providing research, training, communications and consulting assistance.

Good Jobs First was recognized by State Tax Notes as one of two “organizations of the year” in 2015 for its victory in winning the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s Statement No. 77 requiring states and localities report how much revenue they lose to corporate tax breaks for economic development. “Good Jobs First took the lead in pushing for the rules to be strengthened and approved. It rallied its supporters and like-minded organizations, coordinating a massive letter-writing campaign in support of the new standards,” the weekly of record on state tax policy reported.

In 2014, GIS Planning, Inc. and fDI Intelligence (a division of the Financial Times in London) gave Greg LeRoy an Economic Development Leadership Award as “a recognized and committed leader in educating and informing decision makers and communities on the ‘truth’ of incentives based on in-depth research, case studies and white papers.”

In 2013, the U.S. Library of Congress notified Good Jobs First that the Library would begin permanently archiving the content of Good Jobs First’s website as a historically important public policy record. 

Good Jobs First
1616 P Street NW  Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
202-232-1616

Affiliate:

The Corporate Research Project assists community, environmental and labor organizations in researching and analyzing companies and industries. The Project is designed to be a resource to aid activism.

Staff:                                                                                                                                         

Greg LeRoy, Executive Director

Philip Mattera, Research Director and the Director of the Corporate Research Project

Kasia Tarczynska, Research Analyst

Christine WenProject Coordinator-Defending the Public Good Against Corporate Tax Breaks

Tim Kumfer, Administrator

Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Fellow

Rich Puchalsky, Database Consultant 

More about the Staff of Good Jobs First and its affiliates
(e-mail addresses are listed with (at) instead of @ to thwart spamming)

 
Greg LeRoy
Executive Director of Good Jobs First
goodjobs(at)goodjobsfirst.org

Dubbed “the leading national watchdog of state and local economic development subsidies,” “an encyclopedia of information regarding subsidies,” and “God’s witness to corporate welfare,”* Greg founded Good Jobs First in 1998 upon winning the Public Interest Pioneer Award. He has been training and consulting for state and local governments, associations of public officials, labor-management committees, unions, community groups, tax and budget watchdogs, environmentalists, and smart growth advocates more than 30 years. Since its first report in 1999, Good Jobs First has issued more than 120 studies, setting a long string of influential research precedents about economic development subsidies. As of mid-2019, its three databases and main web pages attract more than 3,000,000 pageviews per year.

Greg backed into subsidy reform accidentally, while creating a national consulting practice against plant closings from Chicago from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. Collecting the reforms prompted by these revelations (clawbacks, disclosure, job quality standards, etc.), Greg wrote No More Candy Store: States and Cities Making Job Subsidies Accountable in 1994. It was lauded by the International Economic Development Council and reviewed by the National Conference of State Legislatures a “famous polemic that contends that subsidies for economic development are mere corporate giveaways, and that calls for greater accountability and public restraint.”

Greg’s 2005 book The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was widely reviewed by daily newspapers, specialty tax and development publications, C-Span’s Book TV, The New York Review of Books, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Business Week called it a “powerful compendium of corporate tax dodging in the U.S.” and State Tax Notes wrote: “meticulously documented ...scrupulously accurate ...evocative storytelling...”

In 2015, State Tax Notes magazine lauded Good Jobs First for perhaps its biggest victory ever: the issuance of Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement 77 on Tax Abatement Disclosures, which requires states and most local governments to report how much revenue they lose to economic development tax breaks. A landmark in municipal finance, it remains the only kind of tax expenditure ever to be defined and codified by GASB.

*By columnist Neal Peirce, author Pat Garofalo, and Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngbood, respectively.

 

Philip Mattera

Research Director of Good Jobs First and Director of the Corporate Research Project
pmattera(at)goodjobsfirst.org

Phil has been doing strategic corporate research for labor, environmental, public-interest and other activist groups around the country for three decades. Before that he worked as a business journalist. He is a licensed private investigator; author of four books on business, labor and economics; and a long-time member of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981). His blog on corporate research and corporate misbehavior is the Dirt Diggers Digest. He has written more than 70 critical company profiles for the Corporate Rap Sheets section of the the Corporate Research Project website. He leads the work on Violation Tracker.
 

Kasia Tarczynska

Research Analyst at Good Jobs First
kasia(at)goodjobsfirst.org

Kasia joined Good Jobs First with experience in community development and community organizing around immigrant and low wage worker rights. She also provided research support to non-profit community organizations in Chicago. At Good Jobs First, she performs various research on transparency and accountability of state and local economic development practices and programs, provides technical assistance to partner organizations, elected officials and journalists, manages Subsidy Tracker and Amazon Tracker databases, supports the organization’s social media presence, runs summer intern program and performs a variety of other tasks. She has a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is originally from Poland.

 
Christine Wen
Project Coordinator-Defending the Public Good Against Corporate Tax Breaks
chris(at)goodjobsfirst.org
 

Christine coordinates Good Jobs First's work on government tax abatement disclosures. She joined Good Jobs First in June 2019 with research experience in public finance and economic development. She has a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. 

 

Tim Kupfer

Administrator at Good Jobs First
tim(at)goodjobsfirst.org
 
Tim joined Good Jobs First in 2019. He has a professional background in nonprofit administration and program management, most recently serving as the executive director of The Potter’s House cafe and bookstore in NW DC. Tim is currently a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, where his research explores uneven development and its intersection with race in metropolitan Washington, DC.
 
 

Dr. Kenneth Thomas

Fellow
kenny(at)goodjobsfirst.org

Kenny is Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is an expert in European and Canadian incentive systems compared to the USA’s. Kenny is also a grassroots advocate for TIF reform. He is the author of two books on incentives: Competing for Capital: Europe and North America in a Global Era (Georgetown University Press, 2000) and Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital (Palgrave, 2011).  He blogs at Middle Class Political Economist at https://www.middleclasspoliticaleconomist.com/

 

Rich Puchalsky

Database Consultant

Rich of Grassroots Connection has served as Good Jobs First's database consultant since 2013, starting with Subsidy Tracker and later with Violation Tracker and most recently Tax Break Tracker. He helped GJF research director Phil Mattera develop the parent-subsidiary matching system for Subsidy Tracker and Violation Tracker. Rich has worked on helping nonprofit groups provide public access to data since he started on the RTK Net project in 1991. In a prior role with OMB Watch, Rich programmed FedSpending.org, the first online database of federal contracts and grants. It was found by the Obama administration to be so good that the OMB licensed it for the first iteration of what became USAspending.gov. Among Rich’s other clients is the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, which he helps produce the Toxic 100 and the Greenhouse 100.