Connecticut To Improve Transparency On Business Incentives

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed an executive order that makes information pertaining to economic assistance and tax credits provided to recruit and retain businesses more accessible to residents in Connecticut.

Open Government - Connecticut

Open Government – Connecticut (photo –

The executive order (EO No. 38) directs the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to work with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) for establishing a searchable electronic database on the DECD website.

The website will contain information about all the different state incentive programs used for recruiting businesses and encouraging employers to create jobs.

The DRS Commissioner will additionally provide the DECD with a report that details the aggregate amount of credits claimed in the previous fiscal year, as well as those that are carried forward for offsetting future tax liabilities.

The DECD will use this data to provide on their website a breakup of the type, size and location of businesses that are claiming tax credits.

Gov. Malloy said Connecticut’s taxpayers have a right to know what the state government is doing to promote job creation and economic development, and this directive makes it easier for the public to access this information.

Gov. Malloy added that the directive demonstrates that they are serious about making the state government more transparent, responsive and efficient to private citizens, businesses and policymakers.

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo likewise said the executive order was a significant step toward open government, and would provide policymakers and the public with key information about Connecticut’s investments in its economic assistance programs.

He said the state invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year on tax credits and economic assistance designed for promoting economic development and job growth, and the public deserves to know how these programs are performing.

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith also unveiled an interactive map of DECD’s statewide investments made through their various programs such as the Manufacturing Assistance Act, the Urban Reinvestment Tax Credit Program, Small Business Express Program, and First Five.

You can see the map at It lists recipients’ names, locations, the funding sources under which they received assistance from the State of Connecticut, and the jobs created and retained. DECD is still working on the map, and plans to update it to include other funding sources and the amount of assistance provided by the state.

Baltimore Undertakes Economic Development Strategic Planning Process

The City of Baltimore, Maryland is undertaking a strategic planning process for creating an economic development plan.

Baltimore 2020

Baltimore 2020 (photo –

The process will be led by Austin-based AngelouEconomics, which specializes in strategic economic development and site location.

AngelouEconomics will be working together on this process with the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and the Baltimore Department of Planning.

The aim of the plan is to outline the key steps for enhancing Baltimore’s economic and business climate.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the new strategic plan will provide recommendations for key components of economic growth such as attracting investments, creating jobs and revitalizing Baltimore neighborhoods.

AngelouEconomics has helped create similar strategic plans for Austin (see case study – Imagine Austin), New Orleans and Cincinnati.

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., says in a testimonial that Greater New Orleans has been ranked as the fastest improving economy in the USA, and credits the analysis and strategy development from AngelouEconomics for creating the roadmap for this remarkable journey of recovery.

AngelouEconomics has also helped Western North Carolina with a five-phase study on growing the clean energy industry in the region. The study was a key component of the “Building the Clean Energy Economy in Western North Carolina” project – a regional collaboration involving 31 counties.

AngelouEconomics was chosen after they submitted a proposal in response to the RFP that BDC put out in April 2013.

As far as the City of Baltimore is concerned, they are undertaking an inclusive process with input sought from residents, community leaders, business owners and other stake-holders. In order to get this input, a number of public meetings and small group discussions are being held at different locations in Baltimore.

The City has also created a website ( where citizens can take an online survey and find the latest information and updates about the strategic planning process.

Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said this process is a chance for the city to take stock of its existing conditions, chart the future, articulate aspirations and commit to focusing its resources accordingly.

AngelouEconomics has already started conducting interviews and doing research. The Strategic Plan is expected to be completed by March 2014.

Canon Gloucester Facility Gets Virginia’s Largest Rooftop Solar Project

Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), announced that it will install more than 2,000 solar panels on the rooftop of a Canon Virginia Inc. facility in Gloucester, VA.

Canon Virginia IRT solar rooftop array in Gloucester, VA

Rendering of Canon Virginia IRT solar rooftop array in Gloucester, VA

The $2 million project will produce more than 500 kilowatts of electricity, and will be the largest rooftop solar project in Virginia.

All of the electricity generated from the project will flow to nearby Dominion Virginia Power customers, and will fulfill the power consumption needs of around 125 homes.

The facility in question is Canon’s Industrial Resource Technologies (IRT) unit.

Toru Nishizawa, president and CEO of Canon Virginia and IRT, said their mission was not only to grow Canon’s product recycling efforts, but also to embrace green technologies, foster a recycling-oriented society, and reduce the company’s environmental impact through greater management efficiency.

The Canon project is part of the Solar Partnership Program, under which Dominion Virginia is leasing rooftop or ground-level space at public, industrial and commercial facilities for installing solar panels.

Dominion Virginia has set a target of reaching 30MW of renewable energy capacity through solar facilities on leased space under this program. This means they will be generating enough power under this program for around 7,500 homes.

Kenneth D. Barker, vice president of Customer Solutions and Energy Conservation, Dominion Virginia Power, said the Solar Partnership Program was designed to expand the company’s understanding of community-based solar energy through a study of its impact and assessment of the benefits.

He said the Canon project was their largest installation to-date, and would enable them to evaluate the benefits of distributed generation on the Dominion Virginia Power system.

The Gloucester Economic Development Authority (EDA) owns the building in which the Canon IRT facility is housed. The EDA worked closely on this project with Canon Virginia, Dominion Virginia Power and Branch Banking and Trust.

Gloucester EDA Chairman David N. Meeker said they were always on the lookout for ways to help businesses work more effectively and produce benefits for Gloucester residents. He said the EDA endeavors to assist all businesses in the county to grow and adopt new processes and technologies that help them be successful.

Construction on the project will begin this month, and the solar panels are expected to be installed and operational early next year.

Pelican Energy Consultants Expanding in Louisiana

Pelican Energy Consultants has decided to retain its corporate headquarters in Madisonville, Louisiana, and is undertaking an expansion of its headquarters and engineering center.

Pelican Energy Consultants

Pelican Energy Consultants (photo –

The $5 million expansion project will create 195 new jobs by 2018 with average annual wages of $90,000, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates that the project will result in the creation of another 280 indirect jobs, adding up to a total of 470 new jobs in Southeast Louisiana.

The company currently has 158 employees in Louisiana, of which 113 are in Madisonville working in the engineering center and as corporate employees. The rest at another engineering center in Metairie.

Pelican Energy Consultants, which provides engineering and project management services for the energy industry, also has an office in the Houston area in Sugar Land, Texas.

A lot of their growth is on account of the company’s focus on engineering services related to CO2 enhanced oil recovery.

Pelican Energy Consultants CEO Kenny Bogle said they were proud of their Louisiana heritage. Pelican Energy was founded by Bogle in St. Tammany Parish in August 2005, a bare two weeks before Hurricane Katrina rolled into the Gulf Coast.

Bogle said many in the oil and gas industry are tempted to explore Houston as an option for their international headquarters. However, he noted that Pelican Energy’s purpose of creating a platform for people to improve their quality of life was steeped in the vision of Louisiana.

Bogle also mentioned LED’s FastStart workforce development program as something that will be of great value to the company for assembling more team members.

LED kicked off discussions in Sept 2012 with Pelican Energy for the potential expansion, and secured the project by offering the company the services of LED FastStart. The Pelican Energy expansion project is also expected to be eligible for incentives under Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said the company could have gone anywhere to expand, but Pelican Energy was a born-and-bred St. Tammany Parish company and they wanted to call St. Tammany home.

Brister added that the announcement was yet another indication that their unique combination of a favorable business environment, high quality of life and strong sustainable talent pool are the key attributes making them one of the country’s best business locations.

GEICO Expansion in Katy, TX To Create 1000 Jobs

The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) announced that it is opening a new Greater Houston claims office in Katy, Texas.

Gov. Rick Perry at GEICO expansion event

Gov. Rick Perry at GEICO expansion event (photo – TX Governor’s OFfice)

GEICO will invest $8.5 million for the expansion project, which is expected to create 400 jobs by 2015 and grow to a total of 1,000 jobs over the next years.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined¬†GEICO chairman and CEO Tony Nicely for the announcement.of the company’s expansion in Katy.

The new claims office will be located in the Mason Creek Office Center at 21420 Merchants Way in Katy.

This is a spec building that the Katy Area Economic Development Council (EDC) has helped develop over the past few years. Built on a 10.8 acre site, the two story office building offers 135,000 square feet of space expandable to almost 150,000 square feet.

It comes with parking for 812 car spaces, again expandable to 1,000 spaces. Myers Crow & Saviers, Ltd., the developer of the Mason Creek Office Center, designed it to be an energy efficient building that is registered to be an LEED certified core and shell.

The office building is part of a master-planned park, and the location provides immediate access to I-10.

Lance LaCour, president and CEO of the Katy Area EDC, said the EDC’s targeted focus on recruiting quality companies such as GEICO will produce a strong economic impact for the area. He cited the availability of a spec building and Katy’s energetic and dynamic talent pool as the key ingredients of GEICO’s decision.

GEICO Chairman Tony Nicely said they know the Greater Houston area has built a thriving economy because of the outstanding professionals who have made it their home.

Tara Carthew, branch manager of the new GEICO claims office in Katy, said they were thrilled to be bringing long-term careers with great advancement opportunities for the Greater Houston area.

The Chevy Chase, Maryland-based GEICO was founded in Fort Worth in 1936 to provide automobile insurance for members of the military and other federal employees. GEICO now insures more than 19 million vehicles.

GEICO has more than 29,000 employees and 14 major offices across the U.S. Their regional office in the southwest is located in Dallas, and employs more than 2,200 associates.

Cognizant Relocating US Operating HQ to College Station, TX

Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH), a leading provider of IT, consulting and business process services, announced a $150,000 three-year commitment to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs at Texas A&M University.

Cognizant Technology Solutions

Photo – Cognizant Technology Solutions / flickr

The announcement was made at an event in College Station, Texas. Cognizant recently acquired College Station-based Source Net Solutions Inc., and the headquarters of Cognizant’s principal U.S. operating company is now being moved to College Station.

The company’s global headquarters will continue to be in Teaneck, New Jersey. Cognizant President Gordon Coburn said the business-friendly environment in Texas was a key component of their decision to move the U.S. operating headquarters to College Station.

Cognizant is a Fortune 500 company and their total U.S. workforce exceeds 29,000, of which around 2,000 jobs are in Texas.

The company plans to increase its workforce in Texas by at least 750 over the next three years.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined Cognizant President Coburn in College Station for the announcement of the new jobs and for handing over the check to Texas A&M.

Gov. Perry said employers in Texas don’t have to worry about whether they’ll have the skill and talent available to fill the jobs they’re creating, because the state has built a world-class workforce, including in College Station.

The funding commitment from Cognizant to Texas A&M will support the BioFORCE program at the University’s National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM). This program encourages high school students in becoming a part of the biomanufacturing and biotechnology workforce.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said Cognizant’s support will strengthen the University’s STEM initiatives. He said the University has a long and proud history of educating students in the STEM fields, and funding such as this helps them drive students’ passion for technical learning.

Coburn said Cognizant has experienced tremendous growth, and is among the largest STEM recruiters in the U.S. He said the $150,000 grant to Texas A&M illustrates the company’s commitment towards growing America’s innovation economy.

Cognizant is one of the fastest growing Fortune 500 companies. The company has around 166,400 employees around the world, and generated $7.35 billion in revenues last year, resulting in profits exceeding $1 billion.

AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar

The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Wind Project Siting Seminar is scheduled to be held January 29-30, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar

AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar (photo –

The agenda for the seminar aims to provide attendees with the latest information and strategies for effectively minimizing siting and permitting risks, while creating the conditions that allow facilities to maximize energy output and operate in compliance with environmental laws.

Pre-conference sessions include an update on the activities of the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC) by Dr. Cris Hein, who will also provide updates on ultrasonic acoustic deterrent R&D work.

Another pre-conference session is the American Wind Wildlife Institute Forum, which will discuss AWWI projects in technology innovation and science for policy and practice.

One of the conference sessions focuses on the challenges developers face while obtaining local community buy-in while advancing projects. This session, titled “Obtain Stakeholder Buy-in To Let the Good Times Roll,” provides the latest standards and information regarding cultural consultation and effectively engaging the community, property values, visual impacts, etc.

Another session is focused entirely on sound issues. This forum is titled “Chicken Soup for Your Sound Issues,” and highlights the fact that sound impacts of wind projects are among the top community concerns when developers site projects and impact analysis studies are undertaken.

Apart from compliance and technical aspects, the panelists on this sound issues session will provide attendees with strategies for constructively engaging the public and addressing sound concerns.

In addition to the BWEC update, the seminar also includes another session on the latest developments being undertaken to limit the wind industry’s impact on bats.

North American bats are facing mass extinction due to a mysterious disease called White Nose Syndrome, and efforts to save them are made more difficult by wind turbines that cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of bats every year.

This panel will also share information about minimization and mitigation measures as outlined in Indiana bat permit applications.

What: AWEA Wind Project Siting Seminar

When: January 29-30, 2014

Where: Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mid-America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum

The 2013 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum is scheduled to be held Dec 8-10, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

MAEDC Mid-America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum

MAEDC Mid-America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum

The Competitiveness Conference is hosted by the Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC), which represents the ten-state region and promotes it to site selectors and industries.

A pre-conference seminar on Dec 8 by Harry Moser, founder and president of The Reshoring Initiative, will focus on providing economic developers with the tools to retain and reshore local companies and attract FDI.

This seminar will take an in-depth look at the detailed total-cost analysis that must be undertaken by companies weighing manufacturing in the U.S. against sourcing or manufacturing offshore.

Another highlight of the Competitiveness Conference will be the morning presentation on Dec 9 on “Winning the War Against Incentives.” The presenter is Christopher D. Lloyd, senior vice president and director for Infrastructure and Economic Development at McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC.

Chris Lloyd will provide information on incentives that businesses across the U.S. have received in the past, and explain to economic developers how they can prepare for the scrutiny that follows when incentive packages are offered to companies locating in your region. The presentation will explore how an effective incentives program founded on accountability and transparency is better able to withstand scrutiny.

This presentation will be followed by concurrent sessions, one on attracting FDI and another one on data center site selection and sustainability.

The presenter for the data center session is Gary Demasi, Director, Operations, Data Center Location Strategy and Energy, Google, Inc.He will talk about the site selection trends and considerations for cloud computing data center facilities, and the importance of sustainability mandates.

The Site Selector Forum includes a site selector panel, a separate real estate executive panel, and roundtables. The site selector panel includes 10 members, and will be moderated by Ron Starner, executive vice president and general manager, Site Selection and Conway Data Inc.

The site selector panel has a question and answer segment, and attendees will also learn about the findings from MAEDC’s annual site selector marketing survey.

One of the highlights on Dec 10 is the “Economic Development Revolution” session, which focuses on new techniques that Local Economic Development Organizations (LEDOs) are using for recruiting new businesses and implementing cluster industry development programs.

What: Mid-America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum (MAEDC)

When: December 8-10, 2013

Where: Intercontinental Hotel Chicago Downtown, Chicago, Illinois

Missouri Proposes Legislation For Boeing 777X Incentives

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has called a special session of the General Assembly to consider legislation approving incentives to help the state win production of the Boeing 777X project.

Missouri State Capitol

Missouri State Capitol (photo – RebelAt/wikipedia)

The special session will be convened on Monday, Dec 2, 2013, with the intent of approving the legislation before the Dec 10 deadline for responding to Boeing Request for Proposal (RFP).

The legislation seeks to address three of Boeing critical needs for the project – job creation incentives, workforce training, and infrastructure development.

In order to be able to respond with a competitive package that addresses Boeing’s needs in all these areas, the Governor is asking state lawmakers to an additional $150 million per year for large-scale aerospace projects.

This funding, if approved, would be available under the following four economic development programs – Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act; Missouri BUILD; Missouri Works; and Missouri Works Training.

Missouri BUILD stands for Business Use Incentives for Large-Scale Development Act.

The state government is also engaging with a consortium of community colleges to create a pipeline of highly-skilled workers for this project by training and certifying thousands more aerospace and advanced manufacturing graduates.

Boeing is already one of the state’s largest employers with around 15,000 employees, since St. Louis, MO is the headquarters of Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS).

Gov. Nixon said Boeing had made it clear that the availability of a large and highly-skilled workforce is one of the key factors the company will be using to determine where it produces the 777X.

He added that it was a testament to Missouri’s competitive advantages that the state is able to put forward a competitive bid for the 777X project without veering off into uncharted waters or undertaking risky experiments.

Missouri isn’t the only state willing and ready to offer Boeing large incentives. The Washington State Legislature has already approved a package of incentives that adds up to $8.7 billion through 2040.

Earlier this week, California officials termed as “premature” media reports which said the state was working on an incentive package for Boeing worth $7.5 billion. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley likewise said a couple of weeks ago that it was premature to talk about incentives for the 777X project.

Earlier this year in April, South Carolina approved $120 million in incentives for Boeing’s proposed $1 billion expansion of the North Charleston 787 facility. That’s on top of the $450 million that was approved when Boeing chose North Charleston for the 787 project in 2009.

Bluelace Crowdfunding Project Hopes to Save American Manufacturing

Launched perfectly right in time for the Black Friday holiday shopping kickoff, the Bluelace Project has a hard to refuse proposition for Kickstarter’s crowdfunding community – spend five dollars to buy a blue “Made in USA” shoelace and save American manufacturing.

Bluelace Project - Made in USA

Bluelace Project – Made in USA

The results are hard to argue with – The project’s stated target was $25,000. As of now, the project has already secured more than thrice the target Р$81,696 in pledges from 6,309 backers. That’s in just one day, with 19 more days to go.

The man behind the project is Jake Bronstein, founder of the New York, NY-based fashion company Flint and Tinder.

This is their sales pitch on Kickstarter – “It’s time American manufacturing got its own Yellow Ribbon Рa shoelace unlike any other Рstrong enough to pull us all together.”

The shoelace, made by Portsmouth, Ohio-based Sole Choice Inc., is literally strong enough to pull a truck. They actually had a strongman (Matt Mills) pull a 13,000lb truck with the shoelace, and have video and pictures of it on the project page.

Flint and Tinder teamed up with ten other made-in-USA brands to facilitate the Bluelace Project.

Bronstein says they launched this project after speaking to several thousand retailers over the past year or so. Most of them seemed to think that customers don’t care about domestically made products that are better, and as a result won’t stock products that are made in the USA, and they’ll never know if customers are willing to give it a chance.

The Bluelace Project page on Kickstarter also informs you that every dollar spent on American made products results in an additional $1.40 worth of spending elsewhere in the U.S. economy.

As far as the shoelace is concerned, here’s how a $5 pledge would be spent:-

– $1 to Kickstarter and Amazon for processing fees;

– $2 to the factory in Portsmouth, Ohio for manufacturing the shoelaces;

– $1 to a warehouse in Henderson, Nevada for packaging;

– $1 for shipping costs, which includes stamps purchased from the USPS and envelopes from a Texas-based manufacturer.

Find out more about the Bluelace Project on Kickstarter.

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