RD427 - Effectiveness of Economic Development Incentive Grant Programs Administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia - November 16, 2015

Executive Summary:
In accordance with HB1191(*1), Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) served as the aggregator of data on seventeen different incentive programs across nine separate and distinct entities(*2). This is the second annual report detailing summary information on economic development incentive programs administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The goal of this report is to provide data on incentive programs and relevant measures of program effectiveness in a transparent and easy-to-understand format.

In total, from FY2011 through FY2015, these seventeen incentive programs awarded $499,685,613 in incentive funds across 2,013 projects and $9,663,023 in investment funds across 142 projects. Communicating these results, and understanding the goals of each program is critical to evaluating projects for success and programs for effectiveness.

The FY2015 report integrates comments and feedback attached to the FY2014 report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). As a result, the FY2015 report has a number of improvements and enhancements over the FY2014 report, including developing an interactive and online database which contains the data herein and is accessible to legislators and the public at-large (currently in development). Other additions include a Summary Table of Results, where programs with the same overall measure of effectiveness are grouped together; a Program Comparison, where program requirements, similarities, and differences may be compared and understood; and an increase in the length of period examined from three years to five years. Further improvements and enhancements are detailed in the Reporting Timeline & Milestones section.

While these changes reflect a marked improvement over the FY2014 report, much work remains for the Commonwealth to become the national leader in incentive management, assessment, and evaluation. With the report capturing data on seventeen unique incentive programs across nine entities, the creation of a Central Data Repository (CDR) is critical to accurately and effectively link and track individual projects that receive multiple incentives from multiple entities over multiple periods of time. To date, and in the absence of a CDR, there is not an efficient and repeatable method for achieving this.
(*1) For the purposes of this report, HB1191 is used interchangeably with Chapter 817 of the 2014 Acts of Assembly.
(*2) For the purposes of this report, an entity may be an agency, authority, or other unit that is authorized to use state funds in conjunction with an economic development incentive program.