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New report shows Arizona behind the pack in disclosing economic development subsidies

PHOENIX — A new national report ranked Arizona 32nd in its performance for disclosing key outcomes of economic development subsidies.

The findings of “Show Us the Subsidized Jobs,” a report issued Friday by Good Jobs First — a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Washington, D.C. — reveals that all but four states now post at least partial information online showing which companies are receiving economic development subsidies. But the quality and depth of those disclosures vary widely, both among and within states. Three-fourths of major state development programs still fail to disclose actual jobs created or workers trained, and only one out of every eleven programs discloses wages actually paid.

“Every year, Arizona hands out tens of millions of dollars to private businesses, and it comes in the form of grants and tax credits,” said Serena Unrein, public interest advocate for Arizona Public Interest Group. “The public deserves to how those tax monies are being spent and what the results are and if we’re getting good bang for our taxpayer buck.”

The state of Arizona has a spending transparency website. However, not all is revealed.

“A lot of the incentives that have been created for economic development aren’t included, so we just don’t know what we are getting for the subsidies we are giving these companies,” said Unrein. “The first thing that lawmakers need to do is to change a law which prevents disclosure of who’s receiving tax credits.”