Report: State has ways to go in monitoring jobs incentives

January 18, 2012

Economic Development

A new report by Good Jobs First, a non‐profit, non‐partisan research center based in Washington, D.C., gives Mississippi a C- in a state-by-state assessment of how states monitor, verify and enforce the terms of job subsidies granted private companies as economic development incentives.

The report titled Money‐Back Guarantees for Taxpayers: Clawbacks and Other Enforcement Safeguards in State Economic Development Subsidy Program concluded that many economic development deals in the 50 states and District of Columbia fall short on job creation or other promised benefits. At the same time, states are highly inconsistent in how they monitor, verify and enforce the terms of job subsidies that cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year, the report says.

Also, many states have weak penalty policies for addressing non‐compliance.

The researchers used a scoring system that combines performance standards and enforcement policies.

The report’s authors were hardly generous in the grading, with the highest grade a B- going to Nevada, North Carolina and Vermont as the state’s doing the best job in applying performance and enforcement standards to their major subsidy programs. The worst – The District of Columbia, Alaska and Wyoming received a D-.

“It is not enough for states to have good job-creation and other performance requirements on paper in their subsidy programs; they must also enforce them diligently and consistently,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy.

Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report, emphasized that “strong standards and strong enforcement are inseparable in making sure subsidy programs are not mere corporate giveaways.”

In assessing Mississippi’s performance, the Good Jobs First researchers looked at the state’s major incentives programs:

*Mississippi Advantage Jobs Incentives Progam ($11 million)

*Mississippi Jobs Tax Credit ($5 million)

*Manufactured Investment Tax Credit ($10 million)

*Rural Economic Development Credits ($13.5 million)

The combined average from grades in each category gave Mississippi’s a 49 – one point away from achieving a C. The 49 put it in a tie with Indian, Minnesota, Ohio and Utah and a ranking of 23 among the states. an average of

Mississippi brought in the same C- in grading in December in a Good Jobs First report titled Money for Something: Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy.

The December report addressed how states performed in securing quality jobs in return for the incentives handed private companies.

“If subsidies do not result in real public benefits, they are no better than corporate giveaways,” said Mattera, principal author of the report. “States should be using

these programs to reduce unemployment and raise living standards, not simply to increase corporate profits.”

Nevada, North Carolina and Vermont were found to do the best job in applying job standards to their major subsidy programs. The District of Columbia, Alaska and Wyoming rated worst.

Mississippi’s number grade of 46 tied it with Delaware and put it just ahead of South Carolina.

Here are the number grades Good Jobs First applied in awarding letter grades:

A+ (97 and above); A (93-96); A- (89-92); B+ (83-86); B (80-83); B- (70-79); C+ (60-69); C (50-59); C- (40-49); D+ (30-39); D (20-29); D- (1-19); F (0).

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One Response to “Report: State has ways to go in monitoring jobs incentives”

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