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.
New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller is a man on a mission. No one is doing a better job implementing a new national corporate welfare sunshine rule.
Birmingham, Alabama set a positive example last winter when it exceeded a new accounting rule and disclosed far more tax-break information than is required under GASB Statement No. 77*. The biggest city in a free-spending state that has been notoriously opaque, it named company names, disclosed the number of tax-break deals, and even projected future-year revenue losses—and it did all that a year early!
Good Jobs First today lauded the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) for its latest formal guidance on how localities and states should disclose the costs of economic development tax breaks. Noting that the guidance apparently corrects at least one state auditor and some accounting firms, Good Jobs First called upon state officials and firms to publicize the new guidance and, if necessary, to revise and re-issue any erroneous instructions they may have given.
By Lisa Mckinney, The Council of State Governments
This year, states will have the opportunity to better evaluate the efficacy and value of tax incentives designed to attract, expand and retain business activity in their states with the implementation of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s Statement 77, or GASB 77, which for the first time requires state and local governments to disclose in their financial statements how much revenue was lost to tax abatements for economic development.
By Hilary Russ | NEW YORK
It’s October 2016. Six months from now, state and local governments will start to reveal how much tax revenue they lose each year to economic development subsidies for corporations.
As fall approaches, millions of moms and dads are scrambling to prepare for the first day of school, excited to support their children’s success.
But are schools ready to receive our kids and foster that success? Increasingly, the answer is no.