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Helping communities and businesses find mutually beneficial solutions for the greater good.

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Responsible Incentives was founded in 2021 with a single mission: to eliminate waste in the world of economic development incentives. Site selection decisions are overwhelmingly driven by individual project needs and criteria such as labor availability, workforce skills, infrastructure, logistics, regulatory environment, quality of life, etc. – not incentives.

While incentives can be a tool to close a financial gap, the awarding of taxpayer dollars should be a transparent process, not a game. Our goal is to level the playing field and assist in driving policy and process changes that result in a more efficient and effective use of incentives. 

To assist with this effort, we have developed strategies, services, and a proprietary tool to provide incentive granting bodies with the ability to confirm, with virtual certainty, that the discretionary incentives being awarded for a project are in fact necessary to finalize the deal. A similar approach can be applied to as-of-right tax credits to assist in validating intended inducement. 

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Founder and Managing Principal

For the past 20+ years, C.J. has specialized in helping businesses partner with communities to implement strategic capital investment, job creation/retention, employee training, and research and development initiatives. Successful projects have spanned over 40 U.S. states and employed a myriad of discretionary and as-of-right (aka "statutory") federal, state, and local economic development incentive programs and mechanisms. 

After careful reflection about his purpose and legacy, C.J. has a strong desire to leave a positive mark on the economic development incentive industry. Thus, in addition to continuing to help implement projects that justly utilize economic development assistance, C.J. is interested in sharing insights he's gained in his corporate consulting career with economic development organizations and incentive granting bodies, such as state and local governments, school districts, and utility companies, in order to assist with refining their incentive programs and usage.

Please click the below link to learn more about C.J.'s background.

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If any of these resonate with you, please see our Services.

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Ever wonder if the incentives that were provided for a project were necessary, or could you possibly have offered less or nothing at all and still "won" the project?

Interested in tailoring your incentive programs to provide for long-term community benefits versus potentially just giving away tax dollars?

Are your as-of-right (aka "statutory") tax credits and incentives really driving behavior, or are they simply gravy recouped after the fact?

Are you a smaller community without inhouse economic development incentive expertise, or an economic development organization that needs assistance with a site selection project?

Interested in moving your project forward, being a good corporate citizen, and paying your fair share to support local education, infrastructure, and services, but need help to close a financial gap?

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Let's work together to safeguard and optimize limited resources.

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Data and documentation requirements
Incentive offerings and conditions
Industry trends and updates


Incentive negotiation support
Competing site analyses
Responsible "win" strategies

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The game is over.

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Requires the company, prior to formal approval of the incentive(s), to publicly and explicitly state that “but for” the awarding of the incentive(s), the company will not proceed with the project at the applicable location

Incorporates information and documentation disclosures to justify and validate the necessity and extent of the incentive award

Must be executed by the company’s highest-ranking official and the officer primarily responsible for the company’s ethical and/or legal matters

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We're here to help you use incentives wisely.

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“For a typical state and local incentive package, in only 2 percent to 25 percent of the incented projects is the incentive decisive in tipping a location, expansion, or job retention decision towards that state or local area. In the other 75 percent to 98 percent of the time, the same decision would have been made without the incentive.”

Bartik, Timothy J. (2018). “'But For' Percentages for Economic Development Incentives: What percentage estimates are plausible based on the research literature?” Upjohn Institute Working Paper 18-289. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

“Firms looking to locate or relocate often overemphasize the impact that subsidies have on their decisions. They have good reason to do this since exaggerating the impact might encourage a state or local government to offer a more robust incentives package. The reality is businesses place far more weight on other considerations.”

Schwartz, Andrew. The Realities of Economic Development Subsidies. Center for American Progress, 2018.

“Site Selection Factors, Ranking: The tax and incentive factors actually declined in the ratings and rankings, with fewer than 80 percent of the Corporate Survey respondents rating these factors as ‘very important’ or ‘important.’ … state and local incentives is now ranked No. 14…. based on the ranking of state and local incentives, one could conclude that incentives aren’t as important to company location decisions as previously held.”

Gambale, Geraldine. “34th Annual Corporate Survey & the 16th Annual Consultants Survey.” Area Development Magazine, Q1 2020.


Examining the efficacy of the "but for."

This series of articles will study why discretionary economic development incentives are not functioning as intended, reforms that need to be implemented, and tactics that can be used to build consensus for changes to the systemic issues.

Discretionary economic development incentives are supposed to be subject to the “but for” provision, that is, “but for the availability of the incentive, the project (e.g., capital investment, job creation, etc.), would not proceed.” This requirement is in place to prevent waste, or incentivizing projects that will occur regardless of the incentive award. Yet research indicates, for incentivized projects, the same decision would have been made 75% to 98% of the time without the incentive (Bartik, 2018). But why is this so? 

We will dive into this answer, cover policy and process improvements that will put an end to this madness, and discuss strategies to help us move beyond the prisoner’s dilemma by covering a variety of topics. Click the links below to read each article.

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