Haslam’s Incentives Secrecy Bill to Be Revised?

The bill sought by Tennessee economic development officials allowing them to keep secret the names of business owners getting taxpayer-funded development grants, tax credits and other aid appears headed back to the drawing board, reports Richard Locker.
The top two legislative leaders (Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell) both said today that the bill is being retooled because taxpayers have a right to know who is getting state economic incentives, including the owners of privately held companies.
…”Commissioner Hagerty, the governor and the people at ECD (Department of Economic and Community Development) want to make the most informed decisions they possibly can, and businesses are not going to divulge this information when they may not even get the grant if it’s not kept out of the public view until the proper time,” Ramsey, R-Blountville, said.
“And so what we decided today (is), I want to make it very clear – and I don’t think it is real clear —that should these people – any business or company – get a grant or get ‘Fast Track’ money or whatever it might be, that the information is divulged at that time. That’s the intent but I don’t think it’s in the bill. We want to make sure that is in the bill. That’s how I want the bill to be and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
Ramsey said he specifically means that owners of grant-receiving companies should be public record.
Harwell, R-Nashville, agreed. “We did discuss that. I think that this bill is still a work in progress…. Private companies just don’t want all that information divulged and that’s understandable. On the other hand, citizens have the right to know how their tax dollars are used and spent and I think we will come up with what will be pleasing to both groups.”

Read SB2207 at http://capitol.tn.gov.

2 thoughts on “Haslam’s Incentives Secrecy Bill to Be Revised?

  1. Eric Holcombe

    According to Lamar!, this sounds like it is “unfair” to existing businesses; that the new corporate welfare recipients are getting a “loophole”. Maybe we need a new federal tax for them so states aren’t “deprived of their ability to enforce the law”.

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