OLD Media Moves

Salt Lake City paper fights for incentive records

April 13, 2006

The Salt Lake Tribune has been requesting records from the state about companies that have received tax incentives, but has yet to get the information because the governor has been fighting the request. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Thursday.

Salt Lake TribuneTribune staff writer Rebecca Walsh writes, “In January, a Tribune business reporter requested a breakdown of details about each company offered incentives in 2005 – the business’ name, how many jobs were promised and where the business would locate – as well as correspondence between the company and Utah development officials.

“In response, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development provided only partial information. Economic development officials claim many companies request confidentiality. So the office released just four names of 18 companies offered tax breaks in 2005 and 2006. Possible Utah locations have been listed as ‘rural’ or ‘urban.’ No e-mail letters were released. The Tribune is appealing.”

Read the Tribune story here.

These tax incentive records are a great story in any community, and I highly recommend that every business desk look into the issue in their area. The Triangle Business Journal here in North Carolina wrote extensively about the matter last year, and it’s my belief that the weekly paper won a SABEW Best in Business Award because of that coverage. The judges made prominent mention of their stories in their comments after the winners were announced.

The judges wrote, “Its comprehensive coverage of corporate tax credits was excellent, tracking not only who got the benefits but why they often failed to create lasting new jobs as intended. In particular, it’s coverage of Collins & Aikman, which cut its workforce by 70 percent while generating the state’s most tax credits.”

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