Economic development incentives will be more transparent thanks to a new Governmental Accounting Standards Board disclosure requirement.
The GASB is a private nonprofit agency that provides standards and oversees governmental accounting throughout the nation.
Thanks to this new requirement, government agencies must now tell taxpayers how much tax breaks given under the guise of economic development incentives actually cost.
The new requirements take effect December 15, 2015.
Those incentives often take the form of state income tax credits, property tax reductions through fee-in-lieu agreements, free or reduced rental payments for government structures and cash incentives.
It is past time that taxpayers were told just how much governments are giving away to corporations who promise to create new jobs and sometimes actually do.
In a report that accompanied the new requirements, the GASB said giving up revenue (in the form of incentives) is sometimes a gamble.
I would say it is primarily a gamble.
Corporations play this game well. It’s not about economic development or creating new jobs to them. It is only about where they can get the most for the least cost to them.
Who cares if the taxpayers fill in the rest?