Smart Incentives talked with city leaders about specific steps to connect their incentive programs to equitable economic development goals during a webinar offered with the National League of Cities for the Equitable Economic Development (EED) Fellowship program. The EED encourages cities to leverage their local economic development strategies to create more equitable access to opportunities within all of their communities. 

Incentive programs can be deployed in multiple ways to support more equitable or inclusive economic development by following these principles:

  • Equitable use of incentives starts by making an explicit connection between equity goals and incentive program use
  • Equitable use of incentives is intentional in incorporating equity goals during each stage of the incentive process.
  • Equitable use of incentives involves careful selection of metrics to assess progress toward equity goals
  • Equitable use of incentives emphasizes keeping benefits within the community, not just transferring them to a company
  • Equitable use of incentives stems from engagement with the community – it works with neighborhoods, not against them
  • Equitable use of incentives builds in steps to mitigate the negative effects of new investments or uses those investments to catalyze a response to existing inequities in the community
  • Equitable use of incentives means economic developers don’t just try to build support for projects. They stay engaged to make sure milestones are met and expected outcomes are achieved.
  • Equitable use of incentives devotes resources to determining and reporting on actual outcomes of interest to the community. 

For more information on this topic, please see our most recent presentation, available to download here.