COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The amount of money governments give away in corporate tax breaks has for years been stubbornly difficult to calculate.
That's because states, cities and counties have not been directed to uniformly report the value attached to the various tax incentives, abatements and financing deals they agree to as a way of stimulating economic growth.
A major accounting shift taking place across the U.S. now is changing things.
The nonprofit Government Accounting Standards Board changed its guidelines beginning in 2016 to require tax abatement reporting.
For the first time, state and local governments had to include in their annual reports for last year information on their tax abatement programs.
Watchdog groups say it's an important precursor to debating whether localities get their money's worth from such incentives.