Tax incentives are a mainstay of state and local economic development strategies and have been so for decades. Evaluations of their effectiveness have provided mixed results and few recommendations that have been translated into actual policy modifications. Since the mid-1970s, the State of Michigan has allowed local governments to grant substantial property tax abatements for new investments in real and personal industrial property. The program has been extremely popular, with more than 400 different municipalities granting a total of over 17,000 abatements. Despite its prominence, the program has been subject to only limited analysis at either the State or local level. This book systematically evaluates several different dimensions of industrial property tax abatements:
The book utilizes a number of analytical techniques, including GIS, regression, factor, and shift-share analyses. While the data are drawn from a single state, they represent the complete history of the tax abatement program in a state that has allowed widespread use of local tax incentives. Thus, findings about the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of local industrial tax abatements are applicable to local and state governments across the country. Further, findings about tax abatements are instructive for most financial or tax incentive schemes.