The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) hosted a session on “Getting Inventive with Incentives” as part of the Economic Development and Labor track at NCSL’s annual Legislative Summit last week. I enjoyed moderating the lively conversation around the challenging issues policy makers face when developing incentive policy.
Thank you to the superb panelists, Bob Isaacson from the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness and Michael Hicks with the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University. They shared the latest findings on incentive program trends and provided valuable insights into the economic context for using incentives. I addressed incentive fundamentals and how programs have been evolving to incorporate workforce skills and small business development as priorities.
Lawmakers and other attendees raised important questions about a wide range of incentive policy issues:
- The pros and cons of new film incentives and R&D tax credits were brought up by several attendees.
- Participants expressed great interest in understanding if and when incentives work at all and whether incentives are a good use of state resources. The NCSL State Tax Incentive Evaluation Database is an excellent resource for learning about which incentives work well for states.
- Many attendees are concerned with selecting the right metrics to assess business incentive use and finding better ways to convey the benefits that accrue to people and places from incentivized activity.
- The implications for states of federal IRA and CHIPS Act incentives are also top of mind.
We appreciated the invitation to lead this important discussion. Thank you to Emily Maher and the NCSL team for their leadership on incentives and economic development policy.