Abating Our Future: How Students Pay for Corporate Tax Breaks
by Christine Wen, Katie Furtado, and Greg LeRoy
Published: March 2021
Economic development tax abatements given to corporations cost public school districts $2.37 billion in foregone revenue in fiscal year 2019. That’s an increase of 13 percent – a $273 million jump – from just two years earlier and came during the pre-pandemic period of economic prosperity, a new report details. The losses were widespread: 97 school districts lost more than $5 million each, and 149 districts lost more than $1,000 per student. That left less money for students, who suffered poorer schools, and caused working families to pay higher local and state taxes.
The Revenue Impact of Corporate Tax Incentives on South Carolina Public Schools
by Christine Wen, Kasia Tarczynska, and Greg LeRoy
Published: September 2020
Public school districts in South Carolina suffered a sharp increase in lost tax revenue in FY 2019 due to corporate tax abatements: $423 million. This is $99 million, or 31 percent, more than two years earlier. Already-poor school districts lost the most: the six school districts that reported the biggest per-pupil revenue losses also have some of the highest student poverty; four of them have a Black plus Hispanic majority. The costly tax abatements are negotiated by South Carolina's counties pursuant to state law. In this report, we present our findings on the programs, deals, and costs, and offer a menu of policy options to protect the state's most foundational economic development investment--its public education system.
The New Math on School Finance: Adding Up the First-Ever Disclosure of Corporate Tax Abatements' Cost to Public Education
by Good Jobs First
Published: December 2018
Some 6,000 public schools across the country lost (i.e. forewent) at least $1.8 billion last year as a result of economic development tax incentives granted to corporations. School districts in ten states, led by South Carolina, New York, and Louisiana, collectively lost $1.6 billion. If this money were instead reinvested in hiring new teachers and reducing class size, these ten states alone could add more than 28,000 teachers.