Lawmakers seek more oversight of business incentives; Kansas one of only 22 states with no review process

Kansas currently has no mechanism to monitor how effective its many business development incentives have been, but that could soon change if one group of lawmakers gets its way.

The interim Special Committee on Commerce voted Wednesday to recommend that the Legislature set up a permanent, joint subcommittee whose job would be to keep track of how much the state spends, or how much tax revenue it forgoes, in order to attract or retain businesses, and what kind of return the state gets on that investment.

Mirielle Burgoyne, a senior associate with the Washington-based Pew Charitable Trusts, told an interim legislative committee that more and more states have begun adopting programs to monitor their incentives. “One example of things we suggest states look at is what would have happened but for the incentive,” she told the committee. “What would the companies’ behavior have been if the incentives hadn’t been there versus if it had, and can you really attribute what ultimately happened to the incentive?” Kansas is currently one of only 22 states that have no formal review process for incentive programs, Burgoyne said.

(Read more: / Lawrence, Kansas)