New accounting standards for tax abatements lack specifics

Don Worthington, The Herald:

New accounting standards may not yield specific information on state and local economic projects as some have touted.

The standards, set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, encourage — but do not require — state and local governments to report individual tax abatement deals.

The standards allow governments to report the total amount of tax abated by category. There is no requirement to list the number of abatement deals, whether the companies have complied with their portion of the deal or when the tax abatement expires.

Even if a state or local government opts to disclose individual deals, they set their own thresholds for disclosure.

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