GASB 77 Data: Starting to Make Headlines -- Or Not

As we approach the first tsunami of GASB Statement 77 Tax Abatement Disclosure* data, Good Jobs First is already seeing some big differences in data quality from various states. Of special interest is Statement 77's requirement that governments report the tax revenue they lose passively, as the result of different governments' actions-a big issue, especially for school districts.

 

Consider this Tale of Two States: Nevada's State Controller recently published a succinct four-page report detailing how much each local government loses because of state-controlled incentive programs. On page 3, for example, you can see that in 2016 Storey County schools lost $36.9 million to the Tesla deal alone!

 

The revelation prompted a great piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Price tag for Nevada's tax incentives finally revealed."

 

By contrast, we see nothing but trouble in Washington State, where three populous localities have already reported: "the state government in Olympia doesn't know, so neither do we," as they fail to report their local share of sales tax revenue lost on equipment purchased by aerospace manufacturers (read Boeing) and for data centers (read Amazon and Microsoft).

 

Here, for example, is a link to King County's financial report. Under GASB 77, it states: "County tax revenues were reduced under agreements entered into by the state of Washington. The State has not determined the County's share of abatements at this time." We found the same problem in Snohomish County and the City of Everett's financial reports.

 

Subsidy Tracker 2: Growing Every Week

Don't forget that Good Jobs First's newest database is collecting this first-ever GASB 77 data. Already, we have more than $12 billion of GASB 77 data from more than 850 state and local governments captured and posted at Subsidy Tracker 2.

 

Now for Laughs: John Oliver on Subsidies

 Take a few minutes and enjoy Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's hilarious take on economic development subsidies!

 

Finally, Some Outrage

 Want to learn how companies like Amazon could get millions in cash from state treasuries, after paying $0 in corporate income taxes? Read this blog on monetizing refundable and transferable tax credits.

 

*For those still unfamiliar with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and its Statement No. 77 on Tax Abatement Disclosures, here is Good Jobs First's resource page: https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/gasb-statement-no-77