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Pew study: Florida “trailing behind” in evaluating tax incentives for jobs

Posted Apr 16, 2012 by William March

Updated Apr 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Florida is one of 26 states listed as “trailing behind” in evaluating whether incentive programs that use tax breaks to lure businesses actually produce the promised jobs and economic growth, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study looked at whether the states take four steps to make sure incentives are working and aren’t just giveaways:

—Including evaluation of results in legislation establishing incentives
—Setting a schedule to make sure evaluations get done on all programs
—Measuring the economic impact of the incentives
—Figuring out whether the incentive programs are achieving their goals.

Florida was not one of the leading states on any of the four measures.

The study doesn’t take a stand on whether tax incentive programs are a good idea, only on evaluating their results.

A new state government watchdog group recently established in Florida, Integrity Florida, jumped on the results, saying information on taxpayer-funded incentives, often given out in secret, should be public.

“How much longer will taxpayer-funded projects be approved and funded in secret with such little accountability for actual job creation?” said the group’s director, Dan Krassner.

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