Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

DC is #51! (on tax subsidy disclosure)

Good Jobs First released a study comparing the 50 states plus the District of Columbia on online disclosure of information concerning companies receiving state and local tax breaks, cash grants and other subsidies for job creation. From the press release:

• Thirty-seven states provide online recipient disclosure for at least one key subsidy program.
• Based on our scoring system, the states with the best averages across their programs are: Illinois (82), Wisconsin (71), North Carolina (69) and Ohio (66).
• Thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently have no disclosure at all, although one of those states, Massachusetts, is slated to come online as enacted legislation takes effect. All our scoring is based on what was available online as of November 26, 2010.
• Since 2005, half a dozen states have enacted legislation mandating subsidy recipient reporting in one or more program, the most recent being Massachusetts. Several other states have moved toward transparency through administrative action alone.
• Four states provide recipient reporting for all the key programs we examined: Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
• Of the 245 programs we examined, 104 of them (42 percent) have online recipient reporting.

Maryland tied for 18th ("Maryland ranks poorly for tracking tax breaks" from the Baltimore Business Journal and Virginia tied for 25th.

DC and 13 other states have no requirements for disclosure.

-- full report
-- press release
-- DC appendices

Too often the city gets credit for online initiatives like website redesign and various Web 2.0 applications, while substantive failures to provide information (like this) more generally, or respond to FOIAs, isn't discussed all that much.

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