Assessing Economic Development Incentives: Central Texas City Manager Perspectives
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Purpose: This study is an assessment of economic development incentives. Economic development is a staple in the growth of municipalities, and the use of incentives continues to grow in popularity. Existing literature on economic development and incentives often cites that the downfall of the literature is its failure to judge a program's ability to effectively meet their goals. As such, the purpose of this research is threefold: (1) literature identifies the four major goals of economic development (attract target industry, employment opportunities, increase tax revenue, and increase economic activity) and the four most commonly used incentives (tax abatement, tax increment financing, industrial development revenue bonds, and loan guarantees), (2) a connection is drawn between the goals of economic development and how they act as adequate criteria to assess the success of an incentive, (3) the perspectives of Central Texas City Managers assist in assessing the success of incentives in achieving the goals of economic development through this connection. Methods: To satisfy the research purposes, a survey instrument was developed from the conceptual framework descriptive categories). These surveys were administered to Texas City Managers in Texas City Management Association (TCMA) Regions seven and eight. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results. Findings: The data provides evidence that all incentives are considered to be successful in meeting the goals of economic development. Some incentives, however, were identified to be more successful or favored for particular goals. Based on the results of the survey, it is concluded that Tax Abatement can be accurately ranked as the most successful incentive in meeting all four economic development goals.