Tag Archives: incentives

State of State Business Incentives 2015

C2ER recently completed its annual update of the State Business Incentives Database. As part of the database review process, C2ER researched every U.S. state and territory to ascertain information on what programs have been created, repealed or altered during each state’s most recent legislative sessions. Based on this research, combined with extensive outreach to representatives in every state and territory, the Database now reflects the present status of the more than 1,900 state business incentives in operation around the country.

The State of State Business Incentives 2015 report summarizes the findings from this review. Most striking is the overall growth in the number of state business incentive programs. Since the new millennium, the overall number of state incentive programs targeted to businesses has more than doubled, from less than one thousand in 1999 to nearly two thousand today. The report takes a closer look at the different types and purposes of business incentive programs administered by states and how state incentive portfolios have changed over the past few years in response to recent economic trends, with notable examples of recent state incentive activity.

Illinois’s State Budget Impasse

Passing the annual budget is often a difficult task for state governments, particularly during lean fiscal periods. Over the past few months, Illinois has found resourceful ways to avoid a complete government shutdown after not passing their annual state budget.

The state is making its way through the second month of the fiscal year without a budget. Previously created laws and court decisions require funding to continue for about 80% of state spending, including paying state employees and Medicaid bills. However, many of Illinois’s economic incentive programs have been suspended as the state deals with no full year plan for spending.

Governor Rauner wanted a substantially reduced budget compared to what was passed by the General Assembly in June. The General Assembly’s proposed budget had revenue increases to fix the state’s current deficit, which Governor Rauner was open to if changes were made to workers’ compensation, civil lawsuit damage award limits, and public union bargaining and contracting rules, as well as a freeze on property taxes. Two months later, neither side seems much closer to an agreement. A small sign of progress occurred August 12 when the State House agreed unanimously to free $5.2 billion in federal funding that had been unavailable since July 1st because no budget has been passed.

While the federal funding will help, 20 percent of recently surveyed state social service providers will run out of money in the next few weeks. Along with economic development programs, state universities are also part of the list of organizations not getting funding. ReBoot Illinois has created a continually updating map of people and organizations that have been impacted by the budget impasse.

Newly-elected Governor Bruce Rauner has wrestled with how best to handle state business incentive programs. In April, the Rauner administration lifted the spending freeze it placed upon $100 million in business tax incentives for the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program. The EDGE program provides tax credits to corporations to encourage the businesses to expand their operations in Illinois. To help reduce the state’s current deficit of $4 billion, at the start of June Governor Rauner suspended the application process for any future economic incentives used to attract and grow businesses. These programs have yet to be reactivated.

Illinois’s unusual situation is risky for the state’s economic future if funding for key state economic growth programs continues to stay low. The state’s credit rating will likely be downgraded soon and Illinois was recently ranked last in financial health by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Although no end appears to be in sight, Illinois will eventually have to pass a budget or else face running out of money completely. Until then, the future of Illinois’s business incentive and other economic development programs remains uncertain.

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

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

GASB State Tax Incentive Rule

GASB Tax Incentive Picture Beginning in 2017, those interested in incentives and tax abatement expenditures spending will likely have access to significantly more data than is currently available. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), the independent organization which “establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments,” is asking for public comments on a proposed change to current standards for property and tax abatement agreements. 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

Incentives in the News: The Brookings Institute and Job Incentives

A recently released report from the Brookings Institute highlights the most promising ways they believe cities, states, and regions can move forward in attracting businesses and creating jobs in a responsible and fair way. The study also confirms analysis done by C2ER of the State Business Incentives Database. Continue reading

C2ER Updates State Business Incentives Database

C2ER has just finished its latest update of the State Business Incentives Database. This makes the State Business Incentives Database even more valuable to users who need the most up-to-date information on state programs.

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