Subsidy Tracker Expands Local Government Coverage of Corporate Welfare Deals

21/11/2016

Contact: Philip Mattera pmattera@goodjobsfirst.org

Washington, DC, November 21, 2016— Good Jobs First today announced a significant expansion of its Subsidy Tracker database, the only national search engine capturing company-specific economic development incentive awards from the federal government, all 50 states and many localities.

Increasing its coverage of cities and counties, Subsidy Tracker has added 10,000 entries from 204 newly-included local programs in 25 states. The update also includes data from 24 new state programs as well as new entries for hundreds of the existing programs in the database. Subsidy Tracker now contains 525,000 entries worth more than $260 billion from 972 federal, state and local programs.

The free database is available at http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/subsidy-tracker.

The expansion of local subsidy data foreshadows the tsunami of corporate welfare data that will flow in 2017-2018, pursuant to Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 77 on Tax Abatement Disclosures. Under this new accounting rule, more than 50,000 state and local government bodies will report how much revenue they have lost to corporate tax breaks granted in the name of economic development.

“GASB is requiring that jurisdictions report only aggregate cost amounts, but we will match those numbers to the company-specific data we collect for Subsidy Tracker,” said Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, who leads the work on the database. “In the future, both data sets will be available to provide a fuller picture of subsidy practices.”

The new Subsidy Tracker local data was obtained in some cases from the websites of city and county governments and in other instances through open records requests. This data collection effort—aided by summer interns Alyssa Russell and Hannah Bahnmiller—was undertaken as part of a forthcoming “report card” study in which Good Jobs First will again rate disclosure practices in the country’s largest cities and counties. This new version of Show Us the Local Subsidies is being prepared by Kasia Tarczynska and will be published early next year.

“Our hope is that the wave of new data coming thanks to GASB Statement No. 77 and the growth of Subsidy Tracker will together enable a much more informed debate on economic development subsidy spending,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy. “With federal aid to states and cities likely to be reduced, taxpayers will rightfully pay even more attention to these local tax-base dollars.”