Report: More States are Disclosing Economic Development Deals Online but Reporting Quality Varies Widely

Dec 08, 2010, 13:00 ET from Good Jobs First

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Online disclosure of the names of companies receiving state tax breaks, cash grants and other subsidies for job creation is becoming the norm among states, but the quality of reporting varies widely and about a dozen states still keep taxpayers in the dark, according to a report published today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit research center based in Washington, DC.

"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. The report, entitled Show Us the Subsidies, is available at

"The outpouring of job-subsidy data is a breakthrough for state government transparency," said Philip Mattera, Good Jobs First Research Director and principal author of the report.

Show Us the Subsidies rates the reporting practices of 245 key subsidy programs from around the country on the inclusion of information such as company-specific dollar amounts, job-creation numbers, and the location of subsidized facilities. Programs are also evaluated on how easy it is to find and use the data. Each program is rated from 0 to 100, then program scores are averaged to derive a state score.

Key findings:

  • Thirty-seven states provide online recipient disclosure for at least one key subsidy program.
  • The states with the best average scores are: Illinois (82), Wisconsin (71) and North Carolina (69).
  • Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have no disclosure, although one of those states, Massachusetts, is slated to come online as enacted legislation takes effect. The scores reflect what was available online in late November.
  • Of the 245 programs, 104 (42%) have recipient reporting. The average program score is 25. Nineteen programs rate above 75.
  • The numerical scores are also converted to a set of letter grades that limits the failing grade of F to states with no disclosure and stretches out the ranges for lower passing grades. Hence Illinois gets a B; Wisconsin a B-minus; North Carolina and Ohio a C-plus; and Missouri a C. The rest get a C-minus or below.

"The accountability movement has made great advances," LeRoy said, "but it still has a long way to go before job subsidies are as transparent as other categories of state spending."

Contact: Michelle Lee 202-232-1616 x 210

SOURCE Good Jobs First