Throwback Thursday: Calling for incentive transparency reform

April 25, 2019

Inside Insight

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incentive transparency

This week, Sen. Dick Harpootlian called for an audit of the past ten years of economic incentive packages – a monumental task given that there is no system of transparency or accountability for these taxpayer-funded incentive packages.

This week’s throwback is a pair of stories – one from eight years ago, detailing this very point: that incentive deals often involve millions (and sometimes billions) of taxpayer dollars – yet are passed with no analysis or debate and no follow-up or accountability. This piece proposed reforms that have yet to be seriously debated – namely, systematic transparency and accountability measures for taxpayer-funded incentives.

And just to highlight how long we’ve waited for answers on some of these incentive deals – we’re also highlighting an even older story from nine years ago – where The Nerve reported just how many times lawmakers and state officials refused to provide analysis and background info on the Boeing incentive package.

Opening closed doors: Bringing sunlight and fairness to state-driven economic development

For years, the General Assembly has shut the door, cut deals with lobbyists and given away billions of dollars in incentives.

Deals are hatched and negotiated by a few powerful legislators – in many cases not even their legislative colleagues know what they’re doing.

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Secrecy Shrouds Boeing and Other Deals

No.

That’s often the favorite word of state and local government officials when asked to reveal details of taxpayer-funded incentives given to businesses.

Over the past two months, The Nerve submitted 35 requests under the state Freedom of Information Act to S.C. lawmakers, state agencies and counties seeking information on the Boeing incentives package and other companies that have received tax breaks over the years.

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