Transparency in Government: Rep. Larry Clark’s Bill Passes Senate Committee

larry-headshotOne Step Closer to Becoming Law

House Bill 17 cleared the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism and Labor with a vote of 9-0 this morning. HB 17 now goes to the Senate for their consideration. This is legislation that would increase accountability and transparency for economic development incentive programs in Kentucky. HB 17 is the result of a recommendation from a study of Kentucky’s economic incentive program that was performed in 2012 following the passage of HJR 5 that Rep. Clark sponsored in 2011.

HB 17 would require the Economic Development Cabinet to maintain a database accessible to the public that will display information about incentives for projects approved over the previous five years. The Economic Development Cabinet and the Tourism Arts & Heritage Cabinet would collaborate to produce an annual report on the incentive programs each administer, a report that would be submitted to the Legislative Research Commission and the Governor’s office each November 1st. These agencies are able to provide the information without incurring additional costs to their respective departments. These reports would be accessible to Kentuckians who want to learn what businesses are receiving tax incentives and what jobs are being created as a result of the programs. This creates full disclosure allowing the public to see what the return is on their investments.