While the country mourns yet another mass shooting, one sad, obscure truth in this debate is the fact that the companies producing weapons are being subsidized by communities across the country. While a full accounting of how much the public gifts to gun makers is hampered by poor transparency practices, but we know for sure that the companies have received millions of dollars, often just to relocate.
The Oscar season is upon us, when many of us want to forget the grim news and enjoy movies that can take us to a new reality. On Sunday, we will make ourselves comfortable to celebrate those films. But when we do, let’s not forget that the movies we honor were supported with public money, our money.
The other night, while scrolling Netflix for something to watch, I settled on “Don’t Look Up,” a cautionary tale that uses an earth-destroying meteor as a proxy for climate change. I instantly thought – how much in subsidies did this movie get? But I know the answer, because it’s almost always the same: I cannot tell and won’t be able to find out for another couple of years. Here is why.
Transparency is a cornerstone of economic development, allowing the public to know where funds are being invested, what companies benefit from tax breaks, and if they do the good things corporate leaders and elected officials say they will. That’s why we were so cheered to see Franklin County, Ohio's new website that lifts the veil of secrecy that so often shrouds economic development subsidies.
We posted a new version of Subsidy Tracker, Good Jobs First’s database of company-specific subsidy awards from state and local governments across the country as well as federal agencies. During this round of updates, we added over 17,000 entries from 112 state and local programs from 28 states. We also updated the federal programs. We also added nine megadeals.