North Carolina 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

Money Lost to the Cloud: How Data Centers Benefit from State and Local Government Subsidies

by Kasia Tarczynska
Published: October, 2016

This report explores state and local subsidies provided to data centers owned by tech giants. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon Web Services have been awarded more than $2 billion. The report identifies 11 data center megadeals with the average cost per job of $1.95 million. It also covers data-center-specific tax exemption programs in 27 states.

Press Release

Full Report

 

by Thomas Cafcas & Greg LeRoy
Published: September, 2016

Using data from dozens of programs and deals in Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker database, we draw sharp comparisons between the costs of workforce development programs versus company-specific “megadeals.” Whereas 31 out of 33 training programs have four-figure costs per job, our current megadeals database shows an average cost to taxpayers of more than $658,000 per job.

Press Release

Full Report

Shortchanging Small Business: How Big Businesses Dominate State Economic Development Incentives

by Greg LeRoy, Carolyn Fryberger, Kasia Tarczynska, Thomas Cafcas, Elizabeth Bird and Philip Mattera
Published: October, 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.

press release

full report

In Search of A Level Playing Field: What Leaders of Small Business Organizations Think About Economic Development Incentives

by Carolyn Fryberger et al.
Published: September, 2015

A national survey of leaders of small business organizations 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. 

full report

press release

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

Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs: The Failures of Privatized State Economic Development Agencies

by Greg LeRoy, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Kasia Tarczynska and Philip Mattera
Published: October, 2013

The moves by some states to outsource economic development functions to “public-private partnerships” have, by and large, become costly failures characterized by misuse of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest, excessive executive pay and bonuses, questionable subsidy awards, exaggerated job-creation claims, lack of public disclosure of key records, and resistance to basic oversight.

Full report   Press release

by Peter Fisher, with a preface by Greg LeRoy
Published: May, 2013

Prominent studies that purport to measure and rank the states’ “business climates” are actually politicized grab-bags of data. They contradict each other wildly, have no predictive value, and should not be used to inform public policies. This is only the third such analysis of pseudo-social science “business climatology” in 27 years.

The Job-Creation Shell Game: Ending the Wasteful Practice of Subsidizing Companies that Move Jobs from One State to Another

by Greg LeRoy, Kasia Tarczynska, Leigh McIlvaine, Thomas Cafcas and Philip Mattera
Published: January, 2013

This study describes how state and local governments waste billions of dollars each year on economic development subsidies given to companies for moving existing jobs from one state to another rather. It also looks at how the existence of relocation subsidies emboldens some large companies to demand large job blackmail subsidies to stay put. The report offers policy recommendations to address the problem.

full report

press release

Paying Taxes to the Boss: How a Growing Number of States Subsidize Companies with the Withholding Taxes of Workers

by Philip Mattera, Kasia Tarczynska, Leigh McIlvaine, Thomas Cafcas and Greg LeRoy
Published: April, 2012

States are increasingly using the withholding taxes of their workers to subsidize companies. This is justified in the name of job creation, but payments often go to firms that simply move existing jobs from one state to another, or to ones that threaten to move unless they get paid to stay put.
Overview
Press release
Executive summary
Full text of report
Appendix: subsidy program descriptions
Spreadsheet list of companies receiving subsidies linked to personal income tax revenue

by Philip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Andrew Seifter and Kasia Tarczynska
Published: January, 2012

This companion report to our Money for Something and Show Us the Subsidies studies evaulates state subsidy programs on their use of clawbacks and other penalties in enforcing job-creation, job quality and other performance standards.Press release. Executive summary. Full report with appendices. Full report without appendices. Appendices.

by Philip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Andrew Seifter and Kasia Tarczynska
Published: December, 2011

This follow-up to our Show Us the Subsidies report evaluates state subsidy programs on their job-creation and other performance requirements as well as their job quality (wage and benefit) standards. Press Release. Full Report. Executive Summary. Appendices.

by Citizens for Tax Justice and Good Jobs First
Published: November, 2011

In this report produced jointly with Citizens for Tax Justice, we look at Verizon's federal and state tax dodging in general as well as its tax avoidance linked to state and local economic development subsidies.

by Philip Mattera, Allison Lack and Karla Walter
Published: August, 2007

Good Jobs First has found that General Growth Properties, the country's second largest owner and operator of shopping malls, has drained more than $200 million in revenues from local governments around the country. This is the main finding of a study of economic development subsidies received by GGP as well as the company's frequent challenges to its property tax assessments.

by Alyssa Talanker and Kate Davis
Published: August, 2003

This report examines legislative changes to two geographically targeted economic development programs: tax increment financing (TIF) and enterprise zones. It asks the question: Have laws governing these programs been weakened to permit the use of these programs in non-blighted or affluent areas? In virtually every state that has weakened its TIF or enterprise zone program, the answer is "Yes."

by Sara Hinkley and Fiona Hsu
Published: September, 2000

A comprehensive summary and database of 122 state performance audits of economic development programs of the last decade.