Economic development subsidies do not generate a return on public investment worthy of the cost to taxpayers. This fact has been confirmed by study after study after study, despite an unconvincing effort in Kansas City to suggest otherwise.

We wondered why—in the face of widespread evidence that it doesn’t work—the practice of handing out economic development subsidies remains so common, and in fact is becoming more common. In particular, we wondered if the subsidies could be explained by political campaign contributions.

In researching this essay we observed that in general, political giving increases in the election cycle leading up to a TIF application and then decreases in the cycle after the TIF is approved. To learn more, click below to read the entire essay, or watch a short video here.

About the Author

Patrick Tuohey
Patrick Tuohey
Senior Fellow of Municipal Policy

Patrick Tuohey works with taxpayers, media, and policymakers to foster understanding of the conse

Elias - Web
Elias Tsapelas
Senior Analyst

Elias Tsapelas earned his Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Missouri in 2016. His research interests include economic development, health policy, and budget-related issues.