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Report: Maryland Knows the Drill on ‘Money-Back Guarantees’

January 19, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland is one of the nation's most demanding states when it comes to making sure taxpayer-funded economic development subsidies for businesses actually create good-paying jobs.

That finding, in a new report from Good Jobs First, makes the point that most states could learn from Maryland by putting systems in place that are based on "money-back guarantees." Report author Philip Mattera sees strong public support for accountability.

"Taxpayers have a right to demand both strong performance requirements and aggressive enforcement."

Even though Maryland came in fourth, the report notes room for improvement in penalty assessments, keeping the public informed about penalties, and publicizing which companies were penalized.

Subsidies can play a positive economic role, Mattera says, adding that tracking hard numbers is the responsible way to ensure taxpayer money is well spent.

"When a company is given subsidies without any strings attached, that is a handout, rather than economic development."

Vermont, North Carolina and Nevada came in ahead of Maryland in the study.

The full report, "Money-Back Guarantees for Taxpayers," is online at GoodJobsFirst.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD