The city has been giving tax breaks to developers without tracking how effective their projects have been for economic development, according to a new report.
Last Thursday, the City Council’s Committee on Finance released a report on development tax expenditures, with recommendations on how to evaluate their effectiveness. The report, published by the Council’s Task Force on Economic Development Tax Expenditures, calls for the establishment of a standardized and regular evaluative process to improve transparency and the Council’s oversight.
“The city gives billions in economic development tax incentives each year, and we do not know how well they work. We should know their effects to ensure the public is getting the best bang for its buck,” said City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst), who is the chairwoman of the Council’s Committee on Financing. “I am proud of the work the Task Expenditure Task Force has done, which will help make the government more transparent and prudent. I look forward to working with the Speaker and my colleagues to develop a process that will allow us to evaluate these programs, understand their effects, and make better decisions about our scarce resources.”
The city funded $7.7 billion towards tax benefits aimed at spurring economic growth and development in Fiscal Year 2016; however, no public process exists to evaluate whether the benefits achieved their stated goals.