Summary and Info
The variety of tax incentives offered in state enterprise zones (EZs) are generally viewed to be a cost-effective means of spurring business investment activity and for retaining or creating jobs. While thousands of state-sponsored zones now exist, controversy remains among those studying EZs about what the programs should be asked to achieve, what types of incentives are appropriate to the goals of EZs, and whether or not EZs are more effective at achieving investment and job growth in specific locations than other economic development tools available to state and local officials. Jumping into the breach of these controversies are two noted professors of urban and regional planning, Alan H. Peters and Peter S. Fisher. In their new book, State Enterprise Zone Programs: Have They Worked?, Peters and Fisher evaluate 75 EZs located in 13 states to gain an understanding of the overall effectiveness of state enterprise zones. Faced with a paucity of data on EZs that could be used in standard economic analysis, the authors employ a hypothetical firm model in which they apply various EZ and non-EZ incentives to financial statements created for a set of "typical" firms. Observing the impacts of both types of incentives on firms' financial statements allow Peters and Fisher to predict the firms' resulting behavior. Between these findings and the data accumulated from actual EZs, they are able to offer insights on seven key policy issues: 1. What sort of business incentives are provided in EZs? 2. What is the size of these incentives and what is their relative importance compared to other state and local business incentives? 3. Do EZ incentives encourage business to use more labor than would otherwise be the case? More generally, what sort of investment do the incentives favor? 4. Do EZs make sound fiscal sense? In other words, are enterprise zone incentives likely to produce revenue gains or losses for state and local governments? 5. How much business turnover is typical in EZs? 6. Is there a "causal" relationship between EZ incentives and economic growth in enterprise zones? Do EZs create growth? 7. Do EZs draw their labor from poorer, more depressed parts of metropolitan areas?
More About the Author
Alan P. Peterson (1920–1998) was an American ornithologist and taxonomist. He was linked to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System as an expert.
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