Who offers tax-based business development incentives?
Many American communities seek to attract or retain businesses with tax abatements, tax credits, or tax increment financing of infrastructure projects (TIFs). The evidence for 1999 indicates that communities are most likely to offer one or more of these business development incentives if their residents have low incomes, if they are located close to state borders, and if their states have troubled political cultures. Ten percent greater median household income is associated with a 3.2% lower probability of offering incentives; 10% greater distance from a state border is associated with a 1.0% lower probability of offering incentives; and a 10% higher rate at which government officials are convicted of federal corruption crimes is associated with a 1.2% greater probability of offering business incentives. TIFs are the preferred incentive of communities whose residents have household incomes between $25,000 and $75,000; whereas TIFs are much less commonly offered by communities whose residents have household incomes below $25,000. The need to finance TIFs out of incremental tax revenues may make it infeasible for many of the poorest of communities to use TIFs for local business development.
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