May 2018--In a recent update of its Implementation Guide, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) defied the recommendations of many commenters and ruled that most tax increment financing (TIF) spending will remain undisclosed.
As states and localities finally start to disclose how much revenue they lose to corporate welfare (thanks to GASB Statement 77*), we continue to see laggards and leaders.
With new government financial reports arriving daily, we’ve been busy collecting GASB 77 subsidy data and posting it in our new Subsidy Tracker 2 database.
We are also taking note of trends and contrasts in transparency reporting. One of the most interesting contrasts involves the reporting of passive loss data by the States of Washington and Nevada. GASB 77 requires each governmental entity to report on the tax losses it incurs as the result of abatement actions of other governments.
51 State-Specific “Roadmaps” Also Issued
Good Jobs First Announces “Subsidy Tracker 2”
Hundreds of local governments have already reported their tax revenue losses associated with corporate subsidies. In late July, the State of New York became the first state to do so, in their Basic Annual Report, a publication that precedes the state’s more comprehensive CAFR report on state finances.
In a guest column for the influential government performance website of Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, the B & G Report, we argue that public officials have a strong self-interest in complying with GASB Statement 77 and in encouraging a smarter public debate over public spending priorities that will be enabled by the new data.
By Greg LeRoy, CNBC
Then-candidate Donald Trump made American jobs a hyper-politicized issue, and even though unemployment is low, it's still big news when Carrier lays off workers in Indiana or when Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn eyes Midwestern states to possibly create thousands of new jobs.
States and localities spend aggressively to lure private investment: one academic study estimated $70 billion per year — and that was before the Great Recession prompted some governors and mayors to double down on tax-break offers.
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.
As we await this year’s geyser of first-ever tax break data under GASB Statement 77*, Good Jobs First is especially keen to see how some “budget icebergs” will be revealed.
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.