District of Columbia Publications

Financial Exposure: Rating the States on Economic Development Transparency

by Kasia Tarczynska, Christine Wen, and Katie Furtado
Published: April, 2022

An evaluation of 250 major state-level economic development programs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that 154 of those programs—or 62%—disclose which companies receive public support, while 96 do not. But almost every state knows how to disclose and does so: 48 states plus the District of Columbia—or 96%—provide some degree of recipient disclosure. The gap reflects how inconsistent states are in reporting on all their major programs.

Press Release

Full Report

Federal Dollars, States’ Recoveries: How Poorly Most States are Disclosing CARES ACT Spending

by Katie Furtado
Published: December, 2021

Most states are failing to provide a full and complete picture of how they have been spending billions of dollars in assistance provided by Congress to help their residents recover from the financial burdens caused by COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, just six states do it well: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wyoming. Eight states and the District of Columbia fail to disclose any meaningful information online.

These are among the findings from a Good Jobs First review of the online disclosure practices of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as they have spent a combined $111.8 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).

Press Release

Full Report

Update (1/4/2022): After this report was published, officials at the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) brought to our attention that the Coronavirus Relief Fund spending data posted at on pandemicoversight.gov is cumulative, despite the columns being labeled for only the latest quarter. We had reached out to PRAC while writing the report to fact-check our findings, which included our observation that only the most recent quarter’s data was publicly showing, but PRAC did not respond.

by Kasia Tarczynska
Published: March, 2017

More than half of the nation’s 50 biggest cities and counties still fail to disclose online even the names of the companies receiving property tax abatements or other costly economic development incentives.

full report

press release

A Better Deal for the District: Enhancing Economic Development Transparency and Accountability in Washington, DC

by Thomas Cafcas
Published: February, 2015

The District of Columbia has embraced four best-practice economic development policies (local hiring, fiscal impact analyses, the debt cap, and a Unified Economic Development Budget or UEDB), but it remains behind on many basic accountability standards relative to nearby jurisdictions.

This report seeks to show how the District can build upon its past progress by disclosing the details of subsidy projects in an online database, requiring strong job creation and quality standards, and recapturing subsidies when recipients underperform.

full report

press release

States Featured:

Show Us the Subsidized Jobs: An Evaluation of State Government Online Disclosure of Economic Development Subsidy Awards and Outcomes

by Philip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Kasia Tarczynska, Elizabeth Bird and Greg LeRoy
Published: January, 2014

More states than ever are disclosing company-specific information on economic development subsidies, but the quality of the transparency is highly uneven.

Press release
Full report
Executive summary
Table of links to state disclosure websites
State appendices with scoring details

by Thomas Cafcas
Published: June, 2013

Over the course of the next 15 years, DC Water will undertake $2.6 billion in needed water infrastructure improvements resulting in less pollution entering the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Sink or Swim? uses original research to analyze how DC Water will pay for the Clean Rivers Project and how it could benefit District residents through a local hiring policy.

 

Full text of report

Press release

States Featured:
by Thomas Cafcas
Published: December, 2012

Despite a building boom in the District of Columbia, D.C. residents remain underrepresented on area construction sites. Recently strengthened local hiring rules could reduce the gap, but much remains to be done to implement the new policy. Taxation without Employment: The Case for the District’s Strong Local Hiring Rules reviews the District’s experience with local hiring and explores why the recently strengthened requirements appear successful.

full report

press release

States Featured:
by Alyssa Talanker and Kate Davis
Published: November, 2002

An analysis of 13 major economic development deals subsidized by the District of Columbia reveals a lack of safeguards to ensure the projects pay off for taxpayers, workers and communities.

States Featured: