[NOTE: An audio version of this story aired on Rhode Island Public Radio.]
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In 2013, Rhode Island lawmakers directed the state’s revenue department to analyze tax incentives created to spur economic development. The idea was to assess whether those incentives were actually working.
Linda Katz, co-founder and policy director of the non-profit Economic Progress Institute, was one of the people who supported the law.
“It’s the bang for the buck,” said Katz, whose organization advocates for policies that benefit lower-income Rhode Islanders. “We want to know if we’re giving away money in order to either attract a company here, keep a company here, try to ignite some activity, that we know that, at the end of getting that tax break, we’re actually better off than we were before the company got here.”
But there’s one key problem: the state has yet to produce a single evaluation required under the law. The first report was due last June. Continue reading