Report: Know When to Fold ’Em: Time to Walk Away from NYC’s Corporate Retention Game

Date Published: 
February, 2004

Stephanie Greenwood and Bettina Damiani

This report analyzes contracts that have never been made public before on tax breaks New York City gave to companies that threatened to leave town in the late 1980s and 1990s. Since then, these companies have often failed to create or even retain jobs. Our analysis of the tax-break agreements reveals why: the contracts lack commitments to new job creation, provide weak safeguards against layoffs, and often don’t require companies that break their job retention promises to pay the city back. Lack of public disclosure on these deals and their outcomes has prevented taxpayers from making informed judgments about their value.

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