Oklahoma is doing a better job of providing public disclosure of economic development subsidies being paid out to companies but still has considerable room for improvement, according to a new report from Good Jobs First.
The report, titled Show Us the Subsidies: An Evaluation of State Government Online Disclosure of Economic Development Subsidies, evaluates the performance of all 50 states in making available online information on companies receiving state and local tax breaks, cash payments, and other subsidies. In the press release accompanying the report, Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy points out that the state fiscal crisis has provided an impetus for increased disclosure of subsidy programs in many states:
With states being forced to make painful budget decisions, taxpayers expect economic development spending to be fair and transparent… 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 giving states overall grades, the study rates the reporting practices of 245 key economic development subsidy programs from around the country based on the online disclosure 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. Across the nation, nineteen subsidy programs received total scores above 75 out of 100. Nine of the top 13 rated programs are in Illinois, North Carolina and Connecticut.
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