Good Jobs First Subsidy News
By Greg LeRoy in Bloomberg/BNA Daily Tax Report
As of early June, more than a dozen local governments have issued Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) reporting for the first time how much revenue they lost to economic development tax break programs. Some of these early disclosures are overly narrow, others are needlessly difficult to decipher—and a few go far beyond the basic requirements, providing taxpayers and investors outstanding new information.
By Julie Carr Smyth, The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Want to know how much money governments give away in corporate tax breaks? Good luck.
For years, the figure has been incredibly difficult to calculate. That’s because states, cities and other government units haven’t been directed to uniformly report the value attached to the various tax incentives, abatements and financing deals they agree to as a way of stimulating economic growth.
A major accounting shift taking place across the U.S. now is changing things.
By MIchael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times
A few years ago, Washington state awarded the Boeing Co. the largest corporate tax break any state had given any corporation — a massive $8.7-billion handout aimed at encouraging the aerospace industry generally, and Boeing specifically, “to maintain and grow its workforce within the state.”
Unwisely, state legislators and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee didn’t make that a hard and fast requirement of the handout. So they’ve had to stand by powerlessly as the company has cut 12,655 jobs, or more than 15% of its Washington workforce, since that heady signing ceremony in November 2013.
By Lisa Mckinney, The Council of State Governments
This year, states will have the opportunity to better evaluate the efficacy and value of tax incentives designed to attract, expand and retain business activity in their states with the implementation of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s Statement 77, or GASB 77, which for the first time requires state and local governments to disclose in their financial statements how much revenue was lost to tax abatements for economic development.
By Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Over the objection of a school system that insisted children would pay the price, economic development officials last year granted tax breaks worth more than $250 million to a company that wants to transform an old General Motors site in Doraville into a mix of offices, retail and housing.
In Atlanta, UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, also was negotiating $28 million in tax breaks for a new logistics facility that will employ 1,000 low-paid workers.