NFOIC’s latest research explores transparency in state and local economic development incentives

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information are pleased to announce the publication of NFOIC’s latest research paper, “Invisible Incentives: How Secrecy Impedes Evaluation and Accountability of Economic Development Subsidies.”   Secrecy in economic development spending remains a big challenge for journalists and the public at every level of…


Advocates: Bill could shield too much from Georgia open records law

A bill that passed the state Senate and is barreling toward passage in the House would expand an exemption to the state’s public records law in the name of economic development, but open government advocates fear the bill could be used to justify secrecy in far more than recruiting companies.

The bill, SB 323, would allow any state agency to conceal documents about economic development projects involving business expansions of $25 million in investment or 50 jobs. After a deal is signed or negotiations terminated, the records would become public.


TVA rejects News Sentinel’s FOIA request

It’s secret, and it’s going to stay that way. That’s the bottom line in TVA’s rejection of the News Sentinel’s appeal of a Freedom of Information Act request for information TVA has repeatedly denied.

If the newspaper wants to continue its quest to learn the TVA incentives given to a Clinton, Tenn. industry in expansion mode, it will have to go to court.


Corporate Incentives: Website Ranks States Transparency

All but four states now post at least partial information online showing which companies are receiving economic development subsidies. But the quality and depth of that disclosure varies widely, both among and within states. Three-fourths of major state development programs still fail to disclose actual jobs created or workers trained, and only one in eleven discloses wages actually paid. The best disclosure practices are found in Illinois and Michigan, but even their scores would be near-failing as report card grades.