The wonderful economic development watchdog group, Good Jobs First, has been at the forefront of tracking economic development mega deals. This recent article shows why governments since the Great Recession have been keen on spending so much to attract large firms, which will come at the expense of entrepreneurs and small firms trying to compete. It touches on a topic that I have been increasingly interested in, how competition is different in metropolitan areas at the border of two or more states. More on that later though!
In a second interesting article, the Government Accounting Standards Board has issued statement number 77 which requires governments to provide information within their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) on how much the government is providing in economic development incentives. This Bloomberg News article shows that there will likely be variation in how transparent governments will be in their reporting. Also, it demonstrates that even programs like TIFs which might deliver the benefits in rebates over time are required to be reported.
So, I do intend on writing posts on things other than Amazon's HQ2.0 deal, but it has certainly been interesting watching it unfold. In fact, even comedy has come to appreciate the usage of the megadeals and vast offerings that governments are providing to lure this new headquarters.
When John Oliver gets five million viewers to watch an episode on the usage of economic development incentives, you recognize the broad appeal of the topic.
The satirical news source, The Onion, has two interesting pieces on the topic. While I think the plea from Albany in this piece is good, the Philadelphia case is quite funny.
I enjoyed Zirin's article in The Nation which suggested that these deals were partially the result of cities seeking to attract massive sports stadia and the Olympic games.
I am an assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). I completed my Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University.