Every state offers tax incentives to attract, retain, and expand businesses and jobs. But no state ensures that policy makers rely on good evidence about whether these investments deliver a strong return, according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States. The study comes at a time when most states are trying to rebuild their budgets and many have not regained private-sector jobs lost during the Great Recession.
Pew's 50-state report examined both the quality and scope of states' evaluations of their tax incentives for economic development. The study, "Evidence Counts: Evaluating State Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth," identified 13 leaders: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. Twelve other states have mixed results. Half the states have not taken the basic steps needed to know whether their incentives are effective.