I was reading the latest posts on the International Economic Development Council’s ED|NOW blog tonight and a mention of a report from a group called Good Jobs First titled Show Us the Subsidized Jobs: An Evaluation of State Government Online Disclosure of Economic Development Subsidy Awards and Outcomes roused my interest. In the report, states’ efforts to disclose economic development incentives and the return on the incentive investment are evaluated. Tennessee was credited for recent improvements in their level of disclosure, but it ranked in the middle of the pack on the report’s scale of state subsidy disclosure scores in a tie with Massachusetts for 29th position. North Carolina and Texas, both usually ranked high in industry recruiting success, were at 3rd and 7th, respectively, on their level of disclosure of state subsidies that provide incentives for industry growth and relocation.
Striking that balance of responding to citizens’ demands for more job opportunities and their need to be able to trust that incentives are used responsibly should be a concern for all economic development professionals.