How do you know if you are offering the right incentives for today’s priorities? 

State and local governments typically offer dozens of business incentives. Legislatures create new programs all the time. But having a lot of incentives is not the same as having the right incentives. 

A good practice is to take a step back and examine the entire incentives portfolio to figure out if it is serving you well. Are the incentives able to support your current economic development objectives?

A strategic assessment or incentive portfolio review is a simple process that can make a big difference. It’s a chance to take a fresh look at incentive programs that were created during different economic times and with different priorities in mind. It’s a chance to get ahead of potential problems by figuring out if legacy programs are still useful. 

Incentive portfolio reviews are also a positive opportunity to adjust incentive policies so they support what economic development organizations need today. A review can highlight gaps that need to be filled, identify adjustments that can be made, and lay the groundwork for legislative changes.

This concept is important if we remember that we use incentives to accomplish our economic development objectives, not just do a deal. It’s imperative to be able to show the connection between incentive policy and the expected outcome. A strategic assessment or portfolio review yields operational dividends for the economic development organization and helps leaders communicate how and why incentives help advance state economic priorities.