A survey of 41 leaders of small business organizations in 25 states* reveals they believe state economic development incentives favor big businesses, that states are overspending on large individual deals, and that state incentive programs are not effectively meeting the needs of small businesses seeking to grow. The survey was commissioned by Good Jobs First, a watchdog group that tracks state and local economic development incentives and subsidies, and was funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

What leaders of small business organizations think of state government use of economic incentives to recruit corporate investment

92% | Believe state incentive spending is biased toward big businesses
79% | Believe their state is overspending on big incentive deals, hurting state finances
87% | Don’t believe small business interests in economic development issues are effectively represented in their state’s capital
85% | Don’t believe economic development incentives in their state effectively address current needs of small businesses seeking to grow.
72% | Don’t believe their state’s current incentive policies are effective in promoting economic growth

“Our findings are absolutely consistent with what we have heard for years from small business leaders,” said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy. “Despite their pro-small business rhetoric, state officials’ programs are perceived as biased in favor of large companies that receive big tax-break packages.”

You can download a PDF of the full report, “In Seach of a Level Playing Field,” here.

*The 41 respondents lead small business organization from 25 states, including all but one of the 15 most-populous. The organizations they lead represent 24,000 member businesses.They belong to networks formed in the past 15 years, many with economic development missions. None is contracted by state or local governments to perform economic development functions such as outside-firm recruitment.

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