Our Work

Smart Incentives is the go-to resource on economic development incentive issues. We work to find and share solutions to the challenges associated with economic development incentive use, ranging from competitive program design through outcome reporting and communication. Smart Incentives works with economic development organizations through: Training and Workshops, Advisory Services, Speaking Engagements, and Expert Testimony.

Training + Workshops

Integrating Equity into Incentive Metrics, CREC and State Economic Development Executives Network. November 2021.

Designing and Managing Business Incentive Compliance Programs, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness. November 2020.

Investment Incentives and Sustainable Investments in Agriculture. Executive Training Program, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. June 2019.

Intro Incentives Course. Council of Development Finance Agencies, National Development Finance Summit. November 2018.

Certification Course on International Investment, Investment Promotion, and Sustainable Development. Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies. July 2018.

Tax Incentives and Economic Development Policy. Workshop for the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers and Finance Officers. March 2018.

Intro Incentives WebCourse. 10-hour, online training course offered through the Council of Development Finance Agencies Training Institute. June 2016 and April 2017.

Designing Smart Incentives for Business Attraction. Workshop prepared for the Heinz College Center for Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon University. April 2017.

Crafting Smart Incentives for Impact and Accountability. Training progam offered through the Institute for Public Administration at the University of Delaware. February 2016.

Incentive Return on Investment Workshop, Washington, DC. September 2015.

Business Incentives Data Collection and Management Workshop, Portland, OR. June 2015.

Incentive Project Transparency and Accountability Workshop, Minneapolis, MN. July 2015.

Smart Incentives & Technology Workshop, CDFA National Finance Summit, Scottsdale, AZ. November 2014.

Research and Advisory Services

Economic Impact of Tax Incentive Programs. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, with PFM (2023)

2023 Tax Incentive Evaluation Report. State of Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission, with PFM.

Design and Feasibility of a Data Science Innovation Collaborative in Hampton Roads/Tidewater, VA. State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, with SRI International Center for Innovation Strategy and Policy (2023)

Peer Program Comparison Database and Gap Analysis, with CREC for Missouri Department of Economic Development (2023)

Regional Assessment of Access to Capital for Business. North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, with EntreWorks Consulting (2023)

City/State Economic Development Cooperation, with Econsult Solutions Inc. for Equitable Cities Consulting and The Pew Charitable Trusts. (2023)

Competitive Analysis, Oregon Semiconductor Taskforce (2022)

Long Term Care Tax and Non-Tax Incentive Study. Ohio Department of Insurance, with PFM (2022)

Tax Incentive Evaluation Report 2022. Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission, with PFM.

COVID-19 and Entrepreneurial Firms: Seeding an Inclusive and Equitable Recovery. Smart Incentives and Kauffman Foundation (2022)

One-Stop Portals Help Businesses Navigate State Regulations, National Governors Association (2022)

Connecting Incentives to Priorities, City of Elkhart, Indiana (2022)

Leaving No One Behind: Finding Policy Solutions to Eliminate Barriers to Work for People with Disabilities. Regan Price and Ellen Harpel (2022)

New Findings on Remote Worker Attraction Programs, SEDE Network (2022)

Effectiveness of Incentive Programs in Attracting New Workers. Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, with PFM (2021)

Tax Incentive Evaluation Report 2021. Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission, with PFM

Integrating Equity into Incentive Metrics, SEDE Network (2021)

Business & Industry Team Metrics, Prosper Portland (2021)

Incentives for Entrepreneurial Firms, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (2021)

Strategic Assessment of Incentives. Business Oregon (2021)

Repositioning Economic Development Incentives for 2021. CREC and Smart Incentives. 

Reflecting Community Priorities in Economic Development Practices (2020)

Tax Incentive Evaluation Report 2020. Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission, with PFM.

Guide to Help States Adjust Incentive Performance Agreements. State Economic Development Executives Network, with CREC (2020)

Economic Development Strategic Plan. Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (2019)

Franklin County, OH, Economic Development Strategic Plan (2019)

Invest Atlanta Program Review (2019)

Incentives Effectiveness Study, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (with CREC and Upjohn Institute) (2019)

Economic Development Incentives Analysis, City of Kansas City, MO (with CDFA) (2018)

State Data Sharing Initiative, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (2017)

Incentives Advisory Services, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (2017)

Competitive Assessment of Local Incentives, Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County, Arkansas (2017)

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Management Review and Recommendations (with CREC) (2016)

Finance Program Study, Maryland Economic Development Corporation (with CREC) (2016)

Incentive Programs and Investment Partnerships, Business Leaders for Michigan (2014)

Business Incentives Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (2014-15)


Alternative Metrics: New Ways to Communicate Incentive Performance. State Economic Development Executives Network. January 2024.

Using Evalutions to Drive Policymaking. National Conference of State Legislatures. November 2023.

Fiscal and Economic Impacts of Remote Work and Incentives. Roundtable on Evaluating Economic Development Tax Incentives. October 2023.

Getting Inventive with Incentives. NCSL Legislative Summit. August 2023.

Convening on Regional Inequality and Place-Based Policy. UC Berkeley Opportunity Lab. July 2023.

Economic Development and Business Incentives. George Mason University – Mason Korea. May 2023.

Oregon CHIPS Act and Semiconductor Webinar. Business Oregon. April 2023.

How Different Communities Can Benefit from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. CDFA, December 2022.

Showing Impact: Reporting on Federal Funds for Community Development. State Economic Development Executives Network, November 2022.

Seeding Inclusive and Equitable Recovery, Kauffman Entrepreneurship Issue Forum, July 2022.

Incentives that Work. NCSL Legislative Leaders’ Symposium, June 2022.

Fostering Resident-Centric Economic Development. National Conference on Inclusive Economic Development & Recovery. Upjohn Institute, ICIC, and EDQ Journal. May 2022.

Evolving  State One-Stop Portals. Reviewing and Streamlining State Regulations for Businesses. National Governors Association, May 2022.

Incentives Roundtable: New Findings on Remote Worker Attraction Programs. State Economic Development Executives Network, April 2022.

Bay Area Resource Partner Regional Meeting, San Francisco SBA and California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity. Darrene Hackler, March 2022.

Orange County Minority Business Summit, Darrene Hackler. March 2022.

Incentives for Entrepreneurial Firms. Inclusive Economy/Economic Development Roundtable, California Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. December 2021.

How to evaluate early-stage investor tax incentives. The Pew Charitable Trusts. October 2021.

Business Incentives: What Do They Mean for Entrepreneurship? Kauffman Foundation Forum. March 2021.

Remote Work and Incentives Compliance. CREC Roundtable. March 2021.

How States Can Help Small Businesses Recover from the Pandemic. National Conference of State Legislatures. December 2020.

The Road to Recovery – Moving Forward. CDFA Virtual National Summit. November 2020.

Incentive Targeting: Who Benefits? NCSL Roundtable on Evaluating Economic Development Tax Incentives. October 2020.

Economic Development Incentives: What Works? Main Street North Dakota Summit. October 2020.

Small Business Recovery – A Framework for Assistance. Senate Presidents’ Forum. September 2020.

Entrepreneurial Recovery after COVID-19. Kauffman Foundation Online Forum. June 2020.

Building the Road to Recovery. CDFA-ARI Rural Finance Webinar Series. June 2020.

“But-for” the Incentive: Estimating the Impact of Incentives on Business Decisions. The Pew Charitable Trusts, Incentive Evaluators Network. May 2020.

Best Practices in Local Program Design for Small Business Survival. PFM webinar. April 2020.

Rethinking Economic Development Incentives for the 2020s. State Economic Development Executives Network. March 2020.

Economic Development Incentives: What Works? NCSL Task Force on State and Local Taxation. Charleston, SC. November 2019.

Application of a New Model for Assessing Incentive Costs and Benefits. NCSL Economic Development Tax Incentives Evaluators Roundtable. Washington, DC. October 2019.

A Discussion About City Tax Incentives. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Philadelphia, PA. October 2019.

Using the Sustainable Development Goals to Measure and Communicate Livability. IEDC Annual Conference. Indianapolis, IN. October 2019.

Gig and Independent Work in US Metropolitan Economies and Service Industries. XXIX International RESER Conference. Ceuta, Spain. September 2019.

Improving the Use of Investment Incentives in the Southern Mediterranean Region. EU-OECD Program on Promoting Investment in the Mediterranean, Amman, Jordan. July 2019.

Measuring the Gig Economy. C2ER Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO. June 2019.

Incentives and Equitable Development. National League of Cities and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Legacy Cities Community of Practice Webinar. May 2019.

New Approaches to State Incentive Management. C2ER Webinar. March 2019.

Aligning Incentives with Equitable Economic Development. Equitable Economic Development Fellowship Webinar for the National League of Cities. March 2019.

Tools to Mitigate the Housing and Homelessness Crisis. National League of Cities City Summit. Los Angeles, CA. November 2018.

Housing and Economic Development Strategies for Inclusive Communities. C2ER Webinar with Lisa Sturtevant, LSA. October 2018.

Gig and Independent Work in the Washington Region’s Economy. The Stephen S. Fuller Institute Economic Forum. Arlington, VA. October 2018.

Planning for Inclusive Communities, with Lisa Sturtevant & Associates and Neighborhood Fundamentals LLC. Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association. Annapolis, MD. June 2018.

Leveraging Tax Incentive Use in Development Projects. Council of Development Finance Agencies Maryland Conference. Baltimore, MD. June 2018.

Using Incentives to Achieve Equitable Economic Outcomes. National League of Cities, Urban Land Institute and PolicyLink Equitable Economic Development Fellowship Webinar. February 2018.

Economic Development Strategies and Incentives, SABIT (Special American Business Internship Training Program) Regional Economic Development for Eurasia Delegation. Washington, DC. November 2017.

Measuring for Success – Monitoring Incentives Performance. C2ER Annual Conference, Denver, CO. June 2017.

Evaluating and Improving Tax Incentives. Lessons Learned. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Economic Perspectives on State and Local Taxes, Cambridge, MA. May 2017.

GASB Incentive Workshop. IEDC FED Forum, Washington, DC. April 2017.

Grand Rapids, MI: Defining, aligning and building an equitable city. The Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use Technical Assistance Panel. March 2017.

Exploring the Impact of GASB 77. CDFA//BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series. March 2017.

Equitable Economic Development with Incentives. NLC, ULI and PolicyLink Equitable Economic Development Fellowship webinar. January 2017.

Trends in Site Development and Incentives. NACo, NADO, ARC Technical Assistance Clinic, Building Stronger Communities in Appalachian Coal Country. January 2017.

Tax Incentives: Exploring New Reporting & Disclosure Standards. CDFA Texas Financing Roundtable. September 2016.

Using Incentives Effectively – the National Perspective, California Association for Local Economic Development. August 2016.

The Future of Incentives. IEDC Federal Economic Development Forum, Arlington, VA. April 2016.
Evaluate and Maximize Your Return on Incentives, IEDC Webinar. January 2016.


An act relating to amendment of the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive Program. Vermont House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. February 2023.

Seeding Inclusive and Equitable Recovery. Key Insights and Promising Examples. California Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. July 2022.

Economic Development Incentives: What Works? Taxation Committee, North Dakota Legislature. January 2020.

Economic Development Strategic Plan Report. Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee, Utah Legislature. October 2019.

Key Features for Program and Organizational Oversight: Methods for Evaluating Economic Development Activities. Testimony to the California Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. Hon. Eduardo Garcia, Chair. March 2016.

Discussion of “But-For” in Incentive Use, Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy, Indiana General Assembly, October 2015.

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