Corporate subsidies drain billions from public schools. Companies fined billions by regulators – here and abroad. States hide billions in pandemic-relief… we’re on it! And we can do even more with your support.
Arlene here, wrapping up my first full year with Good Jobs First. I barely know where to start, so let’s dive in!
Opportunity Zones provide federal capital gains tax breaks, supposedly to encourage wealthy investors and corporations to invest their pre-tax gains in historically disenfranchised neighborhoods, help grow local economies and ultimately, improve the long-term prospects for zone residents. But as David Wessel shows in his book, Only the Rich Can Play: How Washington Works in the New Gilded Age, that hasn’t been the case. Despite limited data (the enabling legislation for OZs has next to no guardrails or meaningful reporting requirements), Wessel gives numerous examples of how the winners of the OZs have often been affluent communities and already-in-the-works projects.
In recent years, local and state governments have disclosed more information to the public about tax breaks, grants, and other subsidies they give corporations. But Alabama remains an exception. Unlike most states, it still fails to meaningfully track what the public is getting for the billions it gives to businesses to open or expand operations. We talked to former state Rep. Patricia Todd about what must be done to change that.
My colleagues were digging into the state of economic development subsides in Ohio – as we here at Good Jobs First do – when they came across Cincinnati resident Michelle Dillingham. She's part of a group working hard to reign in tax abatements that divert significant pools of money from schools.
Happy nearly summer, Good Jobs First friends. This is Arlene, with a much overdue update on what we at Good Jobs First have been up to this very busy spring.
Let’s start with some huge news out of Texas, where a massive corporate subsidy program is now on track to expire next year. The program is called Chapter 313, and an explosive Houston Chronicle series (paywalled!) found how little Texans get from a program over $1 billion per year.