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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

The Use of Tax Abatements as a Form of Local Economic Development

Local governments are experiencing fiscal strains imposed from a variety of sources: citizens, state and federal governments, and the private sector. Each has an interest in the efficient and effective governance of basic services and infrastructure. As a result, cities have had to increasingly rely on creative, enterprising mechanisms and concepts for economic development. The practice of using tax abatements as leverage for recruiting firms to local communities seeking economic growth is a controversial activity. The private sector argues that tax incentives are necessary for business to compete in an increasingly competitive global environment. Opponents claim that subsidizing the bottom line for profit-making corporations is not an appropriate use for public funds. The arguments for and against focus on whether tax abatements are key factors in location decisions by firms. The city of Austin provides a direct example of the benefits and detriments of tax abatement policy at the local level of government.

-- Author's foreword.