Shortchanging Small Business: How Big Businesses Dominate State Economic Development Incentives

Greg LeRoy et al.

This report from Good Jobs First delves into the incentives and outcomes of traditional economic development practices across the United States. In an era where political rhetoric does not always align with intentions or even results, argue the authors of the report, a growing need has arisen for an in-depth analysis of the accuracy of the distribution of subsidies and development incentives that claim to benefit small business. The report surveys a wide array of industrial profiles and programs that have invested in communities or areas to "develop" businesses, often citing great success in their reach to small businesses, which make up approximately one-half of the nonfarm GDP in the United States. However, this report finds that 80 to 90 percent of the dollars from these initiatives actually ended up in the pockets of large businesses and corporations. The authors go on to recommend policy revisions that would regulate and counteract the biases found in these economic development strategies.

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