Tennessee 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: October, 2018

The paper examines and compares five local and regional economic development agencies: Memphis Economic Development Growth Engine, Invest Atlanta, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and New Orleans Business Alliance. It pays special attention to company recruitment, small business development and neighborhood revitalization as well as staff size and funding sources.

Full report

States Featured:
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

by Thomas Cafcas with Kasia Tarczynska, Philip Mattera and Greg LeRoy
Published: June, 2014

The City of Memphis has chosen to deliberately avoid its municipal pension obligations at the same time it has granted a series of costly property tax abatements, or PILOTs, to large corporations such as Nike and International Paper while also taking on big debt obligations to benefit other companies such as Electrolux
and Bass Pro and professional sports franchises.

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 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

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.

Published: September, 2011

This study, prepared at the request of the Communications Workers of America, finds that 16 T-Mobile call centers in 11 states have received a total of $61 million in subsidies.

by Phil Mattera and Mafruza Khan
Published: October, 2001

The first study to catalog state and local economic development subsidies given to private prisons.

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.