Lead Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Carl Sciortino
Massachusetts invests heavily in economic development each year – and yet we currently lack the data necessary to assess total spending or to judge the impact of our economic development investments. To increase the efficiency of the state’s economic development agencies, we need to be collecting the performance management data that will allow us to make informed decisions and ensure that our economic development dollars being spent as efficiently as possible. The Tax Expenditure Commission published its final report in April 2012, in which it concluded that there is a lack of adequate data and of opportunity for regular review and consideration of existing tax expenditures’ cost and effectiveness by policymakers. These bills would renew the Commonwealth’s commitment to transparency and increase the efficiency of the state’s economic development agencies.
An Act to promoting transparency and efficiency in economic development (S.173):
This bill would:
a) Provide greater transparency, ensuring that all relevant information about economic development spending is available to those who foot the bill – the taxpaying public.
b) Establish standards for economic development spending – including a reasonable maximum subsidy level per job and wage and employment standards – to ensure we are getting the best possible return on our investment.
c) Provide for the state to enforce “clawbacks” to recapture subsidy funding if job creation promises are not kept.
d) Require periodic review of all economic development subsidies and provide that discretionarily awarded grant-like tax expenditures should periodically expire or “sunset” every 5 years unless affirmatively renewed by law.
An Act relative to transparency of economic development spending (S.174): This bill would promote transparency in economic development spending by ensuring that all relevant information about economic development spending is available to those who foot the bill – the taxpaying public. It would present the total picture of all economic development spending – both through the state and by cities and towns – in one unified budget.
View the full text of the bill and track its history here.