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Creating a Business Incentive Reform Clearinghouse

Posted on behalf of Sen. Charles F. Horn <chorn@mailr.sen.state.oh.us>

Horn Network Update
Ocober 30, 1998

I am pleased to post an announcement from the Corporation for Enterprise
Development (CFED), describing a new Ford Foundation grant to create a
business incentive reform clearinghouse.  This promises to be more good work
from CFED, enhancing techniques and strategies for local governments to
prevent over-bidding in the incentives arm race.  CFED is seeking input on
various aspects of incentive activities and can be contacted directly with
suggestions and ideas (see below for contact info). Thank you for your
assistance in this matter.


October 30, 1998

Dear Friend:

As you well know, the competition between state and local governments to
recruit new companies or to retain existing ones has never been more
intense.  Annually, states and localities across the country spend hundreds
of millions of public dollars on a variety of tax incentives and spending
programs whose use has fueled a new incentives' "arms race" among the
states.  Since our publication of Bidding for Business: Are Cities and
States Selling Themselves Short? and Improving Your Business Climate: A
Guide To Smarter Public Investments in Economic Development, the Corporation
for Enterprise Development (CFED) and its allies have been seeking to hold
business incentives to a higher standard of public accountability.
Recently, the Ford Foundation has awarded CFED a grant to continue this work
by creating a "Business Incentive Reform
Clearinghouse."   Its specific goals include:

* Serving to strengthen the ties between policymakers and the best
academic research on incentives design, reform, administration, and
evaluation ideas;
* Creating a forum for dialogues between reform experts,
researchers, policymakers, journalists, and the informed public;
* Exploring new federal, state, and local reform options; and
* Tracking the latest reform alternatives and the latest case
studies of unaccountable incentive uses.

The Clearinghouse will use the following methods to accomplish the above

* Conducting timely and relevant research;
* Publishing a regular electronic newsletter, Accountabilty: The
Newsletter of the Business Incentive Reform Clearinghouse.
* Organizing dialogue on the most significant incentive reform and
research questions;
* Developing and managing an accessible, yet thorough web site;
* Running a speakers' bureau.

However, if we are to succeed in establishing an effective vehicle for
disseminating timely, accurate, and user-friendly information about
reform best practice, we need your help.  Now and in the future, could
you please send us:

* News clippings about incentive reform debates and current
competitions to attract or retain corporate facilities;
* Bibliographies or citations of good technical or journalistic
articles on the topic;
* Examples of new legislation;
* Evaluations of earlier reform tools, such as sunset reviews,
performance-based contracts, disclosure legislation, etc.;
* New reform proposals and ideas; and
* Anything else that you think would aid incentive reformers.

With your help, we hope to have the Clearinghouse fully operable early in
1999 at www.cfed.org.   For more information, contact: Matt Hull or Bill
Schweke at the Corporation for Enterprise Development 123 West Main Street,
3rd Floor, Durham, NC 27701 (phone: 919-688-6444; fax: 919-688-6580.  Thank
you for your kind attention to this matter.

William Schweke
Senior Program Director