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This handbook is designed to provide local economic development practitioners with an important tool. It takes the reader step-by-step through the different elements of contracts that treat public incentive packages as a quid pro quo for public benefits. Each section discusses a different element of the ideal deal: valuation of public costs and benefits, performance standards, disclosure and oversight, and enforcement. In each section we provide detailed examples of model provisions used by local governments in their incentive legislation, ordinances, and contracts -- information that has not before been obtained or recorded in any systematic way. These examples are meant to both illustrate the key principles for negotiating ideal deals and also serve as templates for actual contract language. They are supplemented with commentary culled from interviews conducted with local government officials, academic studies, and reports by watchdog organizations around the country.

Publication Date



Good Jobs First and the University of Chicago Center for Urban Economic Development


Washington, D.C.


Municipalities, Cities, Incentives, Illinois, Michigan, Corporations, Negotiation, Economic development, State agencies, Property tax, Public interests, Taxpayers, Tax revenues, Tax expenditures, Cost-benefit analyses, Tax incentives


Business Organizations Law | Government Contracts | State and Local Government Law | Taxation-State and Local

The Ideal Deal: How Local Governments Can Get More for Their Economic Development Dollar