How to have that difficult talk - about incentives

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Posted by Ellen Harpel 


One of the biggest challenges for economic developers is figuring out how to talk about incentives to people outside the economic development community. Forthcoming tax abatement disclosures as required by GASB 77 are an opportunity to engage in a better conversation on this difficult topic.

Incentive queries often start with a negative or accusatory tone, making economic developers understandably reluctant to initiate a dialogue. However, economic developers are the best resource for quality information on incentives because they have the experience with the projects and the expertise to make sense of complex program information. These facts, combined with the new norm of transparency in government, means that economic developers can’t be on the sidelines during the incentives conversation.


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