A bill that would establish a public database of economic development and tax incentives offered in Kentucky has cleared a House committee.
Representative Larry Clark (D-Louisville) filed the bill.
It would require the state’s Economic Development Cabinet to provide information on how much money the state gives to private companies for the purposes of job creation.
“This will track everything," said Clark. "It’ll be accountability, transparency, first for the website, we’ll let the public know how to access everything that’s going on in each cabinet. Secondly, they’ll have to report back to us, and then we can evaluate the return on our investment, what activities goin’ on across the state, and especially how effective we are.”
Clark’s bill would also make public the number of jobs created and wages paid by the project.
“We don’t have a centralized location on reporting," said Clark. "It’s sort of a hodge-podge approach. And that has driven that. And also, as a member of the legislative branch, we felt like, at times, we wasn’t quite informed, or good reporting to us, so that’s what generated this whole process.”
The New York Times has reported that over a billion dollars in incentives has been handed out in Kentucky. Currently, the state does not have an official mechanism to account for that.
Nearly $600 million of that annual sum goes toward “energy development” and the coal industry.
The bill passed unanimously out of the House Economic Development Committee and heads to the House floor.