The Legislative Budget and Finance committee released a report last week on the Keystone Opportunity Zone program. The thing that jumped out at me was that there isn't enough data to adequately evaluate the program's effectiveness. From what data that is available it looks like 75% of participants didn’t create any jobs.
Policy Blog: If that wasn’t bad enough, the Department of Community and Economic Development does not even have a method to calculate total program costs. Therefore, it is impossible to run a cost-benefit analysis to determine if KOZ-related “job creations and capital investment” (see above) justify the amount of state and local tax revenues being forfeited.
CV: "We found that many KOZ participants are providing little, if any, job creation of capital investment in return for the KOZ tax abatement and exemption benefits they receive," said study director John Rowe.
The recommendations in the report's highlights are the same I have been advocating for a few years. The tax breaks should only go to someone that has a believable business plan to develop the parcel and if they don't produce in a agreed to time the tax exemption should be revoked. While many of us look at large increases in our property tax bills the owners of the now defunct Lowe's Restaurant didn't pay local property taxes for the last 10 years and didn't create one new job. And I'm sure there are many other sweetheart deals for the well connected that shortchanged our local school districts and local governments.
4 hours ago