Magazine | Business Facilities - Economic Development, Site Selection & Workforce Solutions

In a tough economy, some are questioning the use of tax incentives to convince businesses to relocate. Andy Shapiro, Managing Director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., Princeton, NJ gives us his perspective on whether tax incentives are an effective way to promote development. BF: Are tax incentives often the determining factor in a company’s location decision? AS: Twenty years ago, incentives typically received less weight during the initial site selection process, and became a more key determinant only as the project neared its final stages. Now, as cost control becomes more critical, the search for effective incentives plays a more pronounced role in earlier project stages. Incentives can swing an investment toward an otherwise comparable jurisdiction; or they can make the difference between a decision to move forward and one not to invest at all. BF: Are tax incentives a cost effective tool for job creation? AS: While there has been little research into how effective state job creation tax credits are in promoting job creation, Federal Reserve, researchers have have found that these programs appear to be quite effective at increasing overall business activity within a state. Also, remember that in a growing number of states the tax credit per new job is a percentage of the state income tax withholdings associated with that job. So what you really have is a form of revenue sharing whereby very little public monies are spent on actual job creation. Finally, any calculus of job creation benefits should be sure to take into account the indirect and induced (or “downstream”) jobs created as a result of the multiplier effect from each “direct “ new job. BF: Will states reduce their reliance on tax incentives or will they view them as essential in the site selection competition? AS: We have witnessed budgetary pressures in many states that have threatened existing incentive programs.  Incentives targeting emerging industries, including investment tax credits and venture capital funds, appear to have taken the brunt of this impact. However, so-called “pay as you go” incentives such as job creation tax credits will likely endure as they are considered to be revenue neutral. Also, some states have chosen to double-down during the recession and to increase incentives for new jobs and investment. BF: Do you think tax incentives generally are applied too broadly? AS: Incentives are pricing tools: their impact goes right to a project’s bottom line. State agencies and local jurisdictions use incentives to intervene in the market where a marginal, additional public investment is capable of […]


In a tough economy, some are questioning the use of tax incentives to convince businesses to relocate. Andy Shapiro, Managing Director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., Princeton, NJ gives us his perspective on whether tax incentives are an effective way to promote development. BF: Are tax incentives often the determining factor in a company’s location decision? AS: Twenty years ago, incentives typically received less weight during the initial site selection process, and became a more key determinant only as the project neared its final stages. Now, as cost control becomes more critical, the search for effective incentives plays a more pronounced role in earlier project stages. Incentives can swing an investment toward an otherwise comparable jurisdiction; or they can make the difference between a decision to move forward and one not to invest at all. BF: Are tax incentives a cost effective tool for job creation? AS: While there has been little research into how effective state job creation tax credits are in promoting job creation, Federal Reserve, researchers have have found that these programs appear to be quite effective at increasing overall business activity within a state. Also, remember that in a growing number of states the tax credit per new job is a percentage of the state income tax withholdings associated with that job. So what you really have is a form of revenue sharing whereby very little public monies are spent on actual job creation. Finally, any calculus of job creation benefits should be sure to take into account the indirect and induced (or “downstream”) jobs created as a result of the multiplier effect from each “direct “ new job. BF: Will states reduce their reliance on tax incentives or will they view them as essential in the site selection competition? AS: We have witnessed budgetary pressures in many states that have threatened existing incentive programs.  Incentives targeting emerging industries, including investment tax credits and venture capital funds, appear to have taken the brunt of this impact. However, so-called “pay as you go” incentives such as job creation tax credits will likely endure as they are considered to be revenue neutral. Also, some states have chosen to double-down during the recession and to increase incentives for new jobs and investment. BF: Do you think tax incentives generally are applied too broadly? AS: Incentives are pricing tools: their impact goes right to a project’s bottom line. State agencies and local jurisdictions use incentives to intervene in the market where a marginal, additional public investment is capable of […]

60 Seconds with Andy Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.

Magazine Articles

60 Seconds with Andy Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.

60 Seconds with Andy Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.

In a tough economy, some are questioning the use of tax incentives to convince businesses to relocate. Andy Shapiro, Managing Director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., Princeton, NJ gives us his perspective on whether tax incentives are an effective way to promote development. BF: Are tax incentives often the determining factor in a company’s location decision? AS: Twenty years ago, incentives typically received less weight during the initial site selection process, and became a more key determinant only as the project neared its final stages. Now, as cost control becomes more critical, the search for effective incentives plays a more pronounced role in earlier project stages. Incentives can swing an investment toward an otherwise comparable jurisdiction; or they can make the difference between a decision to move forward and one not to invest at all. BF: Are tax incentives a cost effective tool for job creation? AS: While there has been little research into how effective state job creation tax credits are in promoting job creation, Federal Reserve, researchers have have found that these programs appear to be quite effective at increasing overall business activity within a state. Also, remember that in a growing number of states the tax credit per new job is a percentage of the state income tax withholdings associated with that job. So what you really have is a form of revenue sharing whereby very little public monies are spent on actual job creation. Finally, any calculus of job creation benefits should be sure to take into account the indirect and induced (or “downstream”) jobs created as a result of the multiplier effect from each “direct “ new job. BF: Will states reduce their reliance on tax incentives or will they view them as essential in the site selection competition? AS: We have witnessed budgetary pressures in many states that have threatened existing incentive programs.  Incentives targeting emerging industries, including investment tax credits and venture capital funds, appear to have taken the brunt of this impact. However, so-called “pay as you go” incentives such as job creation tax credits will likely endure as they are considered to be revenue neutral. Also, some states have chosen to double-down during the recession and to increase incentives for new jobs and investment. BF: Do you think tax incentives generally are applied too broadly? AS: Incentives are pricing tools: their impact goes right to a project’s bottom line. State agencies and local jurisdictions use incentives to intervene in the market where a marginal, additional public investment is capable of […]





Editors’ Location Picks

In a tough year, we were tempted to use “survival of the fittest” as the criteria for our annual location showcase. However, this year’s selections not only are surviving—they’re thriving!




Michigan Corporate Moves

Michigan Gets $1.35 Billion from DOE for Advanced Battery Development Vice President Joe Biden recently announced that 12 Michigan projects have been awarded more than $1.35 billion in economic stimulus grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to support advanced battery and electric vehicle manufacturing and development. Funding for the competitive grants comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The projects are estimated to create 6,800 jobs in the next 18 months and up to 40,000 jobs by 2020. Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Lt. Gov. John D. Cherry Jr. hailed the awarding of the alternative energy grants. “Three years ago, we identified the advanced battery market as a key emerging sector that Michigan, already the global center of automotive research and development, was positioned to lead,” Granholm said. “We developed an aggressive strategy to make Michigan the advanced battery capital of the world, and today’s announcement is another huge step toward that goal.” “Michigan is the leader among states in the advanced battery field, and it will help transform our economy,” Cherry said. “We are working to establish an entire advanced battery industry with manufacturers, suppliers, and the entire value chain located right here in Michigan, creating new economic activity and new jobs.” Michigan saw the opportunity for an advanced battery industry early and developed an innovative strategy to bring to Michigan the jobs and economic development created by advanced battery research, development, and manufacturing. That strategy includes Michigan’s first-in-the-nation advanced battery tax credits. Earlier this year, Granholm signed into law legislation providing up to $700 million in refundable tax credits to encourage companies to develop and manufacture advanced batteries and commercialize advanced battery technologies in Michigan. Michigan’s early commitment to this initiative was a key factor in Michigan projects receiving the DOE grants. Beginning in February, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) approved battery incentive agreements with Ford, GM, and Chrysler totaling $280 million for pack engineering, integration and assembly, vehicle engineering, and advanced-battery technologies. In April, MEGA approved $400 million in refundable advanced battery tax credits for A123Systems, Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions, KD Advanced Battery Group, and LG Chem-Compact Power. The state also is expanding its advanced automotive research outside of the metro Detroit area. For example, Mercedes-Benz is expected to hire more than 200 workers for a hybrid technologies research and development center that will be relocated from Troy, MI to Washentow County. The center will be the first major alternative propulsion technology operation in the Ann Arbor, MI region, which is steadily […]


Mississippi Corporate Moves

ATK Expanding Iuka Plant To Make Aero Composites Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (ATK) is expanding its Iuka, MS facility to manufacture composite structures for next-generation commercial aircraft. ATK will produce composite structures for these aircraft, as well as composite aircraft engine components, at its Iuka facility. The expansion is expected to retain the 176 jobs currently at the facility; the workforce will grow to a total of 800 employees in the next eight years. “We welcome ATK’s decision to locate its composite airframe operations at the Tishomingo County facility,” Gov. Haley Barbour said. “ATK’s selection of its Mississippi site for these high-tech operations indicates the company’s confidence in Mississippi’s workforce and its ongoing commitment to doing business in the state.” The state assisted ATK with funding for building infrastructure improvements. “Expanding ATK’s presence in Mississippi with its talented workforce, strong university system, and pro-business environment is the right strategic move for our company,” said Dan Murphy, Chairman and CEO. “We are delighted ATK has chosen to grow its composite manufacturing operations for commercial aircraft here in Mississippi,” said Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. “This further confirms Mississippi is a prime location for companies involved in advanced material-making processes for the aerospace industry.  ATK’s decision to locate these operations in Mississippi will provide a future for many of our college graduates in this field.” ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 17,000 employees in 21 states. It is a leading manufacturer of composite components for military aircraft and satellites. ATK is the world’s largest ammunition manufacturer for military, law enforcement and commercial markets, and it is the largest producer of solid rocket motors for access to space and tactical weapons. United Chair Adds Jobs at Bruce, MS Facility United Chair, owned by Haworth Inc., will add at least 125 new jobs at its Bruce, MS, facility. The company’s Bruce plant currently employs approximately 180 people. The new jobs at the Bruce facility, the result of a consolidation in North American operations for Haworth, will have an average wage rate of $13.44 per hour.  Mississippi Development Authority has provided $500,000 to assist with infrastructure improvements at the Bruce plant. Also, the Appalachian Regional Commission has committed approximately $219,000 and the City of Bruce and Calhoun County have pledged approximately $115,000 for public infrastructure improvements. “During these challenging economic times, companies face difficult decisions regarding where to focus production. This announcement clearly demonstrates Haworth’s confidence in Mississippi as the right place to do business,” said Gray […]