Last week, Governor Malloy announced that Alexion Pharmaceuticals would receive a package of tax incentives to expand and relocate as part of the state’s “First Five” economic development and job-creation program. The package of incentives totals some $51 million, and includes a $20 million forgivable loan, a $6 million grant for lab construction, and up to $25 million in urban and industrial site reinvestment credits. The package is contingent on Alexion returning to New Haven and creating 200 to 300 full-time jobs over a 10 year period.
While this is certainly a welcome development for the state’s emerging life sciences industry and the city of New Haven, calls for the Malloy administration to disclose more information on the deal came from a non-traditional source – House Minority Leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield, the state’s two top Republican lawmakers. Christine Stuart at CT News Junkie has more:
McKinney and Cafero called on the administration to hold a public hearing to discuss the details of the state’s investment.
Some of the questions they want answered are: “What protections are in place to secure the taxpayers’ investment? What kinds of jobs will be created and which ones will qualify the company to have its loan forgiven? Did the state work with Alexion and Cheshire officials to exhaust every idea for keeping the company in Cheshire? What is the cost to the Town of Cheshire, and what, if anything is the state doing to help the Town and its property taxpayers absorb those costs?”
This is an encouraging sign, and could mark the beginning of a bipartisan, sustained call for more information on how the state’s economic development dollars are spent.
Meanwhile, our friendly neighbors to the north have taken a bold step towards increased transparency in economic development tax credits. Thanks to legislation enacted in 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has just released a first-of-its-kind report identifying by name the recipient of each credit, the amount of each credit, and the credit program from which the award was made. The report contains information on thirteen tax credits, ranging from the Film Tax Credit to the Conservation Land Tax Credit, and is a major victory for government transparency advocates in Massachusetts.
You can view the Massachusetts Tax Credit Transparency Report in its entirety online. (Bonus points to Massachusetts for including supporting and supplemental data in an Excel spreadsheet!)