It’s not easy to evaluate incentive programs, but Montgomery County, MD, has issued an impressive and impressively honest review

of its economic development incentives programs.  Among its findings:

  • 40% of grant and loan program recipients fully

    met performance criteria

  • Recipients created or retained 87% of the

    required total projected jobs.  Companies

    that met the performance criteria exceed their projected job totals, but the remaining

    companies fell short of their projections by more than 7,000 jobs

  • A sizable proportion of recipients, ranging from

    32% to 51% (depending on the grant program), either moved out of the county or

    went out of business after the monitoring period ended

  • 23,246 jobs were created or preserved by firms

    receiving some sort of assistance from the county

While there are no benchmarks for incentive programs, these

are actually pretty strong numbers, especially considering that higher risk

small business and technology programs were included in the evaluation. 

Most impressive, though, is the willingness to take the time to carefully evaluate and

share findings about the effectiveness of the county’s incentive programs.