Ky. measure seeks review of economic incentives

Bloomberg – An influential lawmaker thinks it’s time for an independent review of Kentucky’s economic incentives programs to make sure the state is getting sufficient returns on its investments.

The proposal by Democratic House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark of Louisville picked up initial approval Thursday from the House Economic Development Committee without opposition.

“This is more or less fact-finding, trying to measure what we’re really doing good and what we’re doing bad,” Clark, a Louisville Democrat, told the committee.

The goal is to enhance job creation and make sure the state gets solid returns on its investments, he said.

The proposal comes as Kentucky tries to recover from one of the nation’s worst economic downturns in decades. Kentucky’s unemployment rate stood at 10.3 percent in December.

Clark’s measure calls for a comprehensive review that would chart the amount of state money invested and tax revenue foregone to lure businesses to the Bluegrass state. The study would delve into jobs created or retained as a result of incentives, wages paid to those employees and new tax revenues generated.

The study also would look at what other states are doing to attract new businesses.

Another focus would be a review of Kentucky’s stipulations that require recipients of economic incentives to pay back the benefits if they fail to achieve promises of job creation and economic activity.

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