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April 2014 — Volkswagen 2017

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In Volkswagen Meddling, Did Tennessee Actions Violate a Supreme Ruling?

Update on 4/21/14: before today’s scheduled hearing, the United Auto withdrew their election and urged Gov. Bill to reinstate his $300 million of expansion subsidies with no attached this time. that Tennessee officials again interfere with an re-run, the UAW said it will ask a Congressional inquiry to look the role of federal funds in the dispute. “The UAW is ready to put tainted election in the rearview and instead focus on advocating for new and economic investment in Chattanooga,” UAW President Bob King in a statement.

revelations by NewsChannel5 investigative Phil Williams in Chattanooga raise an issue that I at in my blog on public officials in interfering with the vote Volkswagen workers about the United Auto Workers. In blog. I pointed out that Bill Haslam asserted the past granting of subsidies to the gave him a right to weigh in on the and that a state legislator hinted he would oppose new to expand the plant if the workers to unionize.

The Channel 5 revelations these links much vivid. The secret expansion were dubbed “Project and an August 23, 2013 “Project Final Summary of Incentives ,” in the state offers $299.8 in subsidies, has as its first line of “The incentives described are subject to works council between the State of Tennessee and VW concluded to the satisfaction of the State of

I am not a lawyer, but that stipulation out to me because of the 1985 Supreme Case Golden State Corp. v. Los Angeles. In this the Court ruled that and local governments may not pre-empt the of the National Labor Relations in enforcing those private-sector governed by the National Labor Act. Specifically, the Court that Los Angeles, by canceling a franchise, interfered in “permissible tactics” being used by the and its Teamster workforce during a

The Channel 5 revelations suggest officials were committing an act: they were the conditioned offer of future to influence a representation election. It like impermissible interference in labor relations.

Indeed, the administration now admits that it the August expansion-aid offer in as the UAW vote neared. While a official told Channel 5 the offer had a standard 90-day (which had already been two months), Channel 5 reports the offer it obtained “contains no to any sort of 90-day deadline.”

The emails also make it that Tennessee Department of and Community Development officials paying close attention to the Indeed, Gov. Haslam wrote Volkswagen a letter on 4 th protesting what he considered an lack of access to the plant for organizers (Volkswagen allowed UAW access).

The emails also that high-level Tennessee including the chief of staff to Senator Bob Corker, and chief of to Gov. Haslam’s commerce were interacting with consultants during the union

The United Auto Workers seized upon the Channel 5 to broaden the evidence for their Board case seeking to the vote as tainted by the officials’ The UAW for an April 21 NLRB hearing in has subpoenaed: Gov. Haslam, his development commissioner Bill and Hagerty’s chief of staff; Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform; Senator Bo Watson; Sen. chief of staff; Peter of LaborUnionReport.com; and Tennessee House Leader Gerald McCormick, others.

Among the materials of the witnesses are records of “Government defined as “…aid or relief of any – whether proposed, contemplated, or by the state for the benefit of Volkswagen.

We that hearing with

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Supersizing New Jersey’s Subsidies

development incentives are making again in New Jersey.   Following a legislative overhaul of the state’s subsidy programs last Good Jobs First that the state would lose control of spending the expanded programs.  It took than a year for the state Development Authority (EDA) to us right.

The (Bergen) Record this weekend that the new subsidy structure the EDA has awarded the amount of business incentives as it did the first quarter of last

“The grants so far, in the form of tax credits, totaled million. That’s about $89 a month, compared with $36 million a month awarded the state’s main incentive in the first nine months of authority data show. The made about six awards a under the revamped programs, double the number in the first months of 2013.” ( source )

to the state’s business subsidies scrutiny as a result of the ongoing Samson/Christie-Gate scandal, and even the structural overhaul that has the current subsidy surge, New was already facing criticism for its spending on business incentives.  its first two and a half years, the Administration awarded nearly $2 in tax incentives and grants.

All this has done little to help the economy.   New Jersey’s employment rate lags behind the of the nation and reports that business owners are still trouble accessing Hurricane recovery funds are persistent.  for residents, the Christie Administration has demonstrated that doubling the already ineffective business spending isn’t likely to much of an impact.  Supersizing spending is no recipe for prosperity in the State.

New Report: Putting Pension Costs in Context:

Have secretive TIF accounts a significant role in the underfunding of pension funds?

A new report out today, Putting Pension Costs in Context: . focuses on how Tax Increment Financing or TIF to be undermining the city’s budget and has for the last decade. At a moment politicians are talking about retirement benefits for civil like Teachers, Firefighters, and we think it’s useful to the public about what’s dubbed Chicago’s Shadow none other than

There’s been no shortage of issues surrounding TIF. blogged about them a of times on this blog .

one out of every ten property tax dollars in Chicago doesn’t end up in the city’s fund or with other jurisdictions that provide services. Instead, those are siphoned off into what once secret TIF accounts almost exclusively by the Mayor.

this report does not call for the abolition of TIF in Chicago or taking other measures to the needed revenues to pay for critical services, we believe that as a of honest accounting and fair TIF requires careful consideration.

TIF have grown significantly in years. They have for exceeded the City’s annual liability. Our analysis shows property tax diversions into TIF exceeded pension costs in year since 2007. For the city’s pension costs about $386 million in while TIF diverted $457 in property tax revenues in that year.

When newly Mayor Rahm Emanuel office, he convened a TIF review in order to fix this so-called Budget. Although the City TIF far more transparent as a result, the did not make TIF any less corrosive Chicago’s budget. Recent new of proposed subsidies for things basketball stadiums and hotels serious doubts about TIF reform has actually materialized.

to Mayor Emanuel have that about $1.7 sits in TIF accounts, though billion is obligated to various through 2017. But if the city is to consider breaking pension why should TIF spending not receive scrutiny?

Indeed, in California, Governor Brown didn’t rule out TIF to shore up budgets. Much in Chicago, TIF in California was siphoning off an amount of property tax revenue: 12 overall. When efforts to California TIFs failed, the dissolved the authority of localities to TIF districts and began the process of the existing debt obligations.

In the run, local jurisdictions in will see a 10 to 15 percent increase in tax revenues over what would have had with TIF in effect.

Over the past or so, observers have noted the City of Chicago had a revenue but rarely have they the corrosive nature of TIF spending. to a 2010 report on pensions under the previous Mayor of pension funds began into issues after the 2000. It was during this that the city began what the report dubbed contributions” to pensions. Is it a coincidence property tax revenues lost to TIF than doubled between and 2003 and quadrupled by 2007 to half a billion dollars a

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It’s hard to ignore the that TIF impacted pensions: TIF grew, general fund declined, and the city addressed its gap in part by making inadequate to public pensions.

Cutting on TIF in Chicago can and should play a in shoring up the city’s financial

Coverage of the report can be found at The Sun-Times at PandoDaily .

Good First is a non-profit, non-partisan center focusing on economic accountability. It is based in Washington, DC.

Open Data Website Nation in Adopting Economic Transparency Best Practices

taken from Connecticut’s new Data website

Those for a model on how to disclose economic deals should start search in Connecticut. No joke: is cutting edge when it to taxpayer transparency on economic

Yesterday, Governor Dannel launched a new website called which aggregates numerous that were previously or difficult to find. Included in portal are many economic programs we have doggedly and evaluated for transparency and accountability. Our 2014 study ranked 14 th on job subsidy transparency: the states’ new is a clear improvement that have boosted their into the top ten nationally had it been in use we ranked all 50 states.

The Governor’s new efforts came to fruition two executive orders: one creating the and the other instructing the state’s development agency to compile a electronic database of subsidy

What makes the Connecticut such a great model?

Data . Often state put up data in a haphazard fashion. data irregularities, and so forth the data less useable. sometimes agencies put up data in unsearchable PDFs, not databases contain the same information. Good Jobs First data into our 50-state Tracker database, this of messy data requires a deal of clean-up. It’s that Connecticut has taken the to ensure the data isn’t

Relevant Data . The Connecticut also includes extremely data that other frequently forget to include. fields include things as clawback amounts, contract timelines, job benchmarks, the result of a audit, the amount of a subsidy the amount of a subsidy disbursed in year, and the facility address. these data fields many of Good Jobs best practices recommendations. In the only data that seems to have been from the database is information the wages and benefits of subsidized (see here ).

Data . Another open data practice is to allow users to search through the data. The includes built-in mapping filters, and charts. As the screenshot illustrates, taxpayers can now easily see on a map all tax credit recipients that issued tax credit amounts than $1 million.

Downloadable Data . Connecticut hamstring users like it to with a single big PDF. Now the is available in a variety of easy to formats including XML, and, of course, Excel

More Data . Frequently spend a great deal of disclosing data about a few programs, but forget to disclose about other economic programs. This database tax credits, grants, loans, and economic development tools. For discussion about tax credit see our previous blog on the topic. data also includes undisclosed data about For instance, it includes street for film tax credit recipients.

taxpayer savings . In the long the database will also Connecticut taxpayers money. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cost the government great in responding. But the new website will frequently requested FOIA In addition to staff time the enhanced ability for more to know how their tax dollars are spent will prevent fraud, and abuse and enhance


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