Category Archives: Resources

Good Programs Destroyed by Bad Evaluations

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Catherine Searle Renault, Principal and Owner of Innovation Policyworks LLC, and Research Fellow at the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, where she specializes in evaluation research. 

Who can argue with the importance of understanding whether or not taxpayer dollars are being used effectively to meet agreed upon policy goals like economic growth? Across the country, the concept of regularly evaluating economic development incentives, including those implemented as tax credits, is broadly accepted. The devil, however, is in the details. The best evaluations follow recognized policy evaluation and data analysis methodologies and principles.

In Oklahoma and Maryland, the statutory evaluation is in the hands of evaluation professionals in the economic development agencies, rather than being delegated to a watchdog or audit organization, as is proposed in some states. This ensures that the evaluations are credible and professionally done, and actually answer the questions that the legislatures and the public have. Continue reading

New State Business Incentives Glossary

Users of the C2ER State Business Incentives Database have a new resource for understanding some of the tricky terminology used to describe state business incentives. The Database now features a full Glossary with information on every term utilized in the Database.

The Glossary provides information on the most commonly used terms used to describe state business incentives. Researchers can turn to this resource to find more information about different types of incentives, the various business needs fulfilled by incentives, and the statutory and fiscal background of programs. The Glossary also gives more insight into how C2ER researchers decide which incentive programs to include in the Database. Continue reading

Annual Versus Biennial Budgeting

Users of the C2ER Economic Development Program Expenditures Database may notice differences in how frequently the budget for each state is released. This is because states have the choice of using either annual or biennial budgets, meaning budgets released every two years. Therefore, some states will not release their proposed budget for an extra year, or will not release actual budget numbers for more than two years. A number of factors go into why a state decides to use an annual or biennial budget. Continue reading

States propose funding apprenticeships

apprenticeship picAs data from the proposed FY2016 State Budgets are released, C2ER has been updating the C2ER State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database. As C2ER staff review the state budgets that have been released over the past few months, they have been looking for investments in apprenticeship programs.

Here are highlights from Connecticut, Iowa, and Maryland:

  • Connecticut’s proposed FY2016 apprenticeship funding is fairly consistent with FY2015 and FY2014, proposing approximately $575,000 in general fund expenses for the program.
  • Iowa proposed a 9% funding increase for FY2016 for the Iowa Apprentice Program, which is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority in coordination with the Office of Apprenticeship at the US Department of Labor. The program was created with the Iowa Apprenticeship Act in 2014.
  • Maryland significantly increased funding from FY2014 to FY2015, with a 60% in state funding allocated to the apprenticeship program. FY2016 included a proposed estimated 6% increase in state funding.

For more information and updates, visit the C2ER State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database. Please note that updates will not appear to users until all FY2016 state updates are complete in June 2015.

FY 2016 Proposed State ED Budget Cuts

As data from the proposed FY2016 State Budgets are released, C2ER has been updating the C2ER State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database.  The proposed budgets provide information on eliminated programs and decreased funding for economic development financing, with many affecting small business development related programs.

Continue reading

State Initiatives in International Markets

According to the C2ER State Economic Development Expenditure Database, international trade and investment is among the fastest growing economic development functional areas. C2ER defines the international trade and investment function as program activities  involving export promotion, international marketing and recruitment, foreign direct investment assistance, and an array of programs aimed at building stronger economic ties between states and other parts of the world.

Int1Since 2012, states have increased their program expenditures in international trade and investment from $61 million in FY 2013 to $75 million in combined proposed spending for FY 2015 – a 23 percent increase. This rise in investment can possibly be connected with the successes of the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Initiative, a 3 year pilot program which uses matching-fund grants to assist eligible employers in becoming engaged in the international marketplace. Essentially, the grant subsidizes the marketing costs states accrue in advertising their businesses’ goods and services internationally. Continue reading

Funding Highlights From Proposed FY2016 State Budgets

C2ER staffers are busy digging through the newest proposed state budgets for FY2016. As we update the State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database, a number of programs have stood out. The proposed budgets include new programs as well as some major funding increases in economic development financing, infrastructure and construction, research and development, and employment training. Continue reading

New State Business Incentives Analysis Tools

C2ER is pleased to announce two new analysis tools for the State Business Incentives Database. Researchers using the new State by State and Totals by State analysis tools will now find it much easier to make “apples-to-apples” comparisons between incentives projects. Continue reading

C2ER Partners with SelectUSA

C2ER and SelectUSA have entered into a partnership to make some features of the State Business Incentives Database publicly available through SelectUSA.gov. SelectUSA is an initiative housed in the U.S. Department of Commerce that was established to attract and retain investment in the American economy. This initiative provides investors with information on accessing federal and state programs and services related to business investment. Continue reading

State Business Incentives Database Debuts New User Site

The Council for Community and Economic Research has launched the newest iteration of the State Business Incentives Database website. New features make finding up-to-date information on state incentive programs even easier for economic developers, business development finance professionals, economic researchers, and other users. Continue reading