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 to 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.
Donations to Good Jobs First, as a 501(c)(3), are tax-deductible. Consider requesting a grant distribution through your Donor Advised Fund or designating Good Jobs First as your beneficiary. Our EIN is 82-0542649.
Good Jobs First:
1380 Monroe St NW
Washington DC 20010
Affiliate: 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.
Greg LeRoy, Executive Director
Philip Mattera, Research Director and the Director of the Corporate Research Project
Arlene Martinez, Communications Director
Kasia Tarczynska, Research Analyst
Dr. Christine Wen, Project Coordinator
Katie Furtado, Research Analyst
Tim Kumfer, Administrator
Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Fellow
Rich Puchalsky, Database Consultant
Executive Director of Good Jobs First
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.
Areas of expertise: Economic development incentives; tax increment financing; GASB statement No. 77; smart growth; transit and transit-oriented development; organized labor
Research Director of Good Jobs First and Director of the Corporate Research Project
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. 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 Corporate Research Project website. He leads the work on Violation Tracker.
Areas of expertise: Corporate Misconduct; Regulatory Enforcement; Corporate Research
Communications Director at Good Jobs First
Arlene joined Good Jobs First with experience watchdogging local government as part of the Ventura County Star’s investigations team and before that, with The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Los Angeles Times and Hispanic Link News Service in Washington D.C. In 2019, she launched USA TODAY Network’s statewide California newsletter, breaking down policy and providing analysis to help residents better understand Golden State life. She loves Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, Excel, and working to make the world a more just and equitable place through government accountability, smart economic policies and promoting the amazing work of her colleagues. Arlene has a Bachelors in Communication from University of California, Santa Barbara, and is currently pursuing her executive Masters in Business Administration at California Lutheran University.
Research Analyst at Good Jobs First
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.
Dr. Christine Wen
Project Coordinator at Good Jobs First
Chris leads the work on defending public goods against corporate tax breaks at Good Jobs First. Her current research focuses on the impact of property tax abatements on funding for K-12 education and local government transparency in tax spending. She holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University, a Master's in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and a Bachelor's in Physics from Princeton University. She has published in peer-reviewed journals in economics and education. https://www.christinewen.com/
Areas of expertise: Tax and fiscal Policy; municipal finance; education; economic development; community development; regional inequality; GIS; statistics; qualitative research methods
Research Analyst at Good Jobs First
Katie joined Good Jobs First in 2020. She is a researcher who became committed to the labor movement after witnessing countless workplace and labor violations during her seven years working in the food service industry. At Good Jobs First, she oversees Covid Stimulus Watch and assists in projects related to government disclosures on tax abatements. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre and a Master of Social Work, both from Catholic University.
Areas of expertise: Covid Stimulus Watch, GASB 77
Administrator at Good Jobs First
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 at Good Jobs First
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 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 are the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, which he helps produce the Toxic 100 and the Greenhouse 100.