In 2003, the Minnesota Legislature enacted an economic development program called JOBZ that attempts to promote economic growth in Greater Minnesota through a variety of tax subsidies. I think it is fair to say that much of the Red Wing Port Authority’s work in the past two to three years has been involved with the JOBZ program. That would likely be the case in many Minnesota communities.
In 2008, The Office of the Legislative Auditor stated, “We found that JOBZ has been used appropriately in some cases and helped create jobs. But we also found significant problems with the program’s design and implementation, resulting in some cases of ineffective and inappropriate use of tax subsidies.”
Some business subsidies under JOBZ have a direct local impact by way of an exemption from local property taxes, while at the same time have a state revenue impact in terms of breaks for sales, income, and corporate taxes. Measuring the cost versus benefit is no small task.