“As we reported in our statewide assessment of incentives and abatements, it appears that local tax abatements perform poorly as tools for boosting employment in Indiana,” Faulk said.
In the latest research, CBER provides more detail on that finding. “We report that since 2002, total abated property taxes in Indiana could have exceeded $2 billion,” Hicks said. “However, data on the actual lost revenue is not clearly reported in a central location.”
The researchers recommend:
u a comprehensive review of data on local tax abatements that would provide more detailed information on the size and focus of these incentives
u data that is publicly available and in a centralized location
u a significant study of local tax abatements, which involves not only the types of aggregate estimates but also case studies of individual counties and projects
“Our findings suggest that, as a job creation tool, local tax incentives in Indiana appear to be minimally effective,” Hicks said. “There also is not a strong relationship between abatements and the growth of assessed value over time. The implication is that, on average, the use of abatements as a tool for growing a property tax base is not particularly effective in the short to intermediate term.”
“Simply, we believe the state legislature should take closer look at the use of tax abatements at the local level,” Faulk said.