Press Releases


Study: Despite States’ Pro-Small Business Rhetoric, Big Businesses Get Dominant Share of Economic Development Dollars

Washington, DC, October 20, 2015—Governors and state legislators routinely praise small businesses for their contributions to economic growth and job creation, but states actually give big businesses the dominant share of their economic development incentive awards.


Survey: Small Business Group Leaders Say States Favor Big Businesses at the Expense of Small Firms Seeking to Grow 

Washington, DC, September 29, 2015— A national survey of 41 leaders of small business organizations representing 24,000 member businesses in 25 states reveals that they overwhelmingly believe that state economic development incentives favor big businesses, that states are overspending on large individual deals, and that state incentive programs are not effectively meeting the needs of small businesses seeking to grow. 


Contact Greg LeRoy
Philip Mattera

Good Jobs First lauds new accounting standard

New Rule on Tax-Break Disclosure:  Historic Good News for Taxpayers

Washington, DC, August 14, 2015 — Good Jobs First today lauded the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) for the issuance of its first-ever rule requiring state and local governments to report how much revenue they lose to corporate tax breaks given for economic development.

“Though we are disappointed by some of the technical shortcomings of the new standard, make no mistake: this is absolutely historic good news for taxpayers,” said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy. “We have long criticized GASB for being MIA on corporate welfare; now the debate will turn to implementation of this landmark accounting rule.”


June 12, 2015

Good Jobs First Weighs In On Elon Musk Subsidy Controversy

In the week and a half since Jerry Hirsch of the Los Angeles Times’ broke a story on billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s use of subsidies as key to his business’ plans, the story has gone viral. The $4.9 billion in government subsidies (much of the data sourced from our Subsidy Tracker database) covers three companies affiliated with Musk: SolarCity (ranked 28th in our list of top recipients), Space X, and Tesla Motors (ranked 22nd).

For example, the story got picked up by Tribune-affiliated papers, including The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, and The Hartford Courant. Even cable news outlets, blogs like The Motley Fool, and radio commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, discussed the Times’ findings. Over 500 comments were posted on the Times’ website and the paper printed a selection of Letters to the Editor.

At first, Musk did not respond to the Times’ request for comment but he later called into CNBC to respond. Musk argued:

  • It was misleading to sum up multiple years of subsidies (past and future) in one figure. By doing so, he claimed it made it appear as if his companies were just receiving one big check.
  • It was unfair to not also discuss the level of subsidization for fossil fuels. Subsidies to green companies are justified, Musk argued, because the oil and gas industries are so heavily subsidized.
  • $1.3 billion in subsidies for Tesla’s “Gigafactory” were warranted given the projected economic impact.

Here’s our retort to Musk:


Federal “Corporate Welfare” Database Now Online
Study: Large Corporations Dominate Federal Subsidy Awards; Banks, Foreign-Owned Energy Firms and Federal Contractors Among the Biggest Recipients

Washington, DC, March 17, 2015 — Two-thirds of the $68 billion in business grants and special tax credits awarded by the federal government over the past 15 years have gone to large corporations. During the same period, federal agencies have given the private sector hundreds of billions of dollars in loans, loan guarantees and bailout assistance, with the largest share going to major U.S. and foreign banks.

These are key findings of Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations, a study with accompanying database released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit and non-partisan research center on economic development accountability based in Washington, DC. They derive from the first comprehensive compilation of company-specific federal subsidy data. The study and database are available at