Friday, December 10, 2010

[IWS] [JOBS] SUBSIDY TRACKER DATABASE & REPORT--NEW! from Good Jobs First [8 December 2010]

IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


Good Jobs First




Discover Where Corporations are Getting Taxpayer Handouts Across the United States

A growing number of state governments are disclosing which companies they are giving tax breaks and other subsidies in the name of job creation and economic development. Yet much of that information is being disseminated through hard-to-find reports and web pages. SUBSIDY TRACKER is the first national search engine for state economic development subsidies. It brings together recipient data from a wide range of subsidy programs in states across the country.


Each entry identifies the recipient company and, depending on availability, provides data on the dollar value of the subsidy, the program and state agency involved, the location of the subsidized facility, and the employment impact of the subsidy. Each entry also indicates where the data came from, so the user can go to the original source for more information. For more information on the data, see the User Guide.


Subsidy Tracker is a work in progress. In the months to come we will seek to incorporate data from more programs covering more years. Subsidy Tracker currently contains more than 43,000 awards from 124 programs in 27 states.


Inventory of data sources used in Subsidy Tracker


User Guide



SHOW US THE SUBSIDIES: An Evaluation of State Government Online Disclosure of Economic Development Subsidies [8 December 2010]

byPhilip Mattera, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Caitlin Lacy, Elizabeth Williams and Sarah Gutschow

[full-text, 40 pages]


Includes tables such as "State Subsidy Disclosure Scoring by Rank and Alphabetically"




Press Release 8 December 2010

Contact: Michelle Lee 202-232-1616 ext. 210

Phil Mattera 202-232-1616 ext. 212



December 8, 2010 – Online disclosure of the names of companies receiving state and local tax breaks, cash grants and other subsidies for job creation is becoming the norm around the country, but there is wide variation in the quality of the reporting and about a dozen states are still keeping taxpayers in the dark, according to a report published today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.


Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Ohio were found to have the best economic development disclosure.


“With states being forced to make painful budget decisions, taxpayers expect economic development spending to be fair and transparent,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy. “Claims that sunshine would hurt a state's business climate have been discredited, trumped by people's rising expectations about government information being online.”


In addition to the report, entitled Show Us the Subsidies, Good Jobs First also released two new online tools relating to state government economic development practices: Subsidy Tracker, a searchable database that brings together subsidy recipient information from numerous state governments; and Accountable USA, a set of webpages on each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia summarizing their track record on subsidies. All these resources are available at no cost on the Good Jobs First website at


“The outpouring of job-subsidy data is a breakthrough for state government transparency and accountability,” said Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, principal author of Show Us the Subsidies and leader of the six-person team that produced the report, Subsidy Tracker and Accountable USA. “Enhanced disclosure makes it much easier to monitor the tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer revenues that are being diverted to private parties each year.”


Show Us the Subsidies rates the reporting practices of 245 key economic development subsidy programs from around the country on the inclusion of information such as company-specific dollar amounts, job-creation and wage-rate numbers, and the geographic location of subsidized facilities. Programs are also evaluated in terms of how easy it is to find and use the online data. Each program is rated on a scale of 0 to 100 (with extra credit for including advanced features). The scores for the programs in each state are then averaged to derive a state score.


Accountable Development & Smart Growth for Working Families


The report’s key findings are as follows:


• Thirty-seven states provide online recipient disclosure for at least one key subsidy program.

• Based on our scoring system, the states with the best averages across their programs are: Illinois (82), Wisconsin (71), North Carolina (69) and Ohio (66).

• Thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently have no disclosure at all, although one of those states, Massachusetts, is slated to come online as enacted legislation takes effect. All our scoring is based on what was available online as of November 26, 2010.

• Since 2005, half a dozen states have enacted legislation mandating subsidy recipient reporting in one or more program, the most recent being Massachusetts. Several other states have moved toward transparency through administrative action alone.

• Four states provide recipient reporting for all the key programs we examined: Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

• Of the 245 programs we examined, 104 of them (42 percent) have online recipient reporting.

• For the country as a whole, the average program score is 25. Ignoring those with no disclosure, the average rises to 59. Nineteen programs are above 75, including three that score over 100, thanks to extra credit. The top-rated programs in terms of disclosure are in Illinois and Texas.

• We also provide the results in the form of letter grades, but in a way that diverges from the usual system used in schools. We limit the failing grade of F to those states with no disclosure at all, and we stretch out the ranges for the lower passing grades (see the table below for details). Using this system, Illinois gets a B; Wisconsin gets a B-minus; North Carolina and Ohio get a C-plus; and Missouri gets a C. Seven states get a C-minus; seven get a D-plus; nine get a D; and nine get a D-minus.


“Our findings tell two different stories,” LeRoy said. “The first is one of the steady spread of transparency across the nation. The other is that some states still inexplicably keep taxpayers completely or partially in the dark. The accountability movement has made great advances but still has a long way to go before job subsidies are as transparent as other categories of state spending, such as procurement.”


This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       



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