International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

State enterprise zone programs differ in their size, structure, and complexity and in the criteria used to create them. Zones also vary according to their administration and in their relationship to other government programs. The variations among enterprise zone programs are even greater considering the different incentives offered to entice businesses into an area. Some of the most common incentive packages include tax breaks (i.e., sales, property, personal, corporate, income, and franchise taxes), loan guarantees, subsidies, and permitting or rezoning options ( Wolf 1991, pp. 58-74). These incentives are often buttressed with government expenditures for infrastructure improvements, public works projects, job-training programs, and increased police protection. Without enterprise zones in place, it is likely that cities, states, and the national government would neglect such programs ( Gunn 1993, pp. 432-449).

Enterprise zones have been successful in states where tax incentives and other strategies for eliminating poverty are combined (e.g., Indiana and New Jersey). In contrast, zone programs have failed in states where government officials offer tax incentives, but have turned away from the area's larger socioeconomic problems (e.g., Connecticut and Louisiana). Since enterprise zone programs strive to be unique, it has been difficult to measure their achievements or to evaluate the costs and benefits that they entail ( James 1991, pp. 225-240).

Although enterprise zone programs are popular, critics have raised questions regarding the fairness of a program that singles out a limited number of geographic areas for special treatment. This is a serious concern because gains in employment and investment within zones may contribute to employment and investment declines outside the zones ( James 1991, pp. 225-240). Critics also point out instances in which localities have clashed with their neighbors, with other political actors, and with state bureaucrats over the location, value, and operation of enterprise zones ( Wolf 1991, pp. 58-74). However, the latter criticism may diminish over time due to the Clinton Administration's program, which emphasizes building multicommunity collaborative partnerships. Despite these criticisms, the attractiveness of the enterprise zone program is evidenced by the selection of over 3,000 zones in 38 states and the District of Columbia ( Gunn 1993, pp. 432-449).

BERNADETTE T. MUSCAT


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berman, David R., 1991. "The Politics of Planning and Development." In David R. Berman, State and Local Politics. 6th ed. Dubuque, IA: Win. C. Brown, 356.

Erickson, Rodney A., and Susan W. Friedman, 1991. "Comparative Dimensions of State Enterprise Zone Policies". In Roy E. Green , ed., Enterprise Zones, New Directions in Economic Development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 155-176.

Gunn, Elizabeth M., 1993. "The Growth of Enterprise Zones: A Policy Transformation", Policy Studies Journal, vol. 21 ( 3): 432-449.

James, Franklin, 1991. "The Evaluation of Enterprise Zone Programs". In Green, Enterprise Zones, New Directions in Economic Development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 225-240.

Simendinger, Alexis, and Julian Saenz, 1994. "Tax Policy: Clinton Names Nine Empowerment Zones Eligible for Grants, Aid, Tax Breaks". The Bureau of National, Affairs (BNA), Washington Insider, December 22.

Wolf, Michael Allan, 1991. "Enterprise Zones through the Legal Looking-Glass". In Green, Enterprise Zones, New Directions in Economic Development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 58-74.

ENTITLEMENT. A benefit, either financial or in kind, provided by the federal government to individuals, subordinate units of government, or businesses. Entitlements are established by legislation, or statutory law, which spells out the size or nature of the benefit and the criteria that recipients must meet to qualify for the benefit. The fact that entitlement benefits derive from statutory law implies that they are inviolate and, like traditional property rights, protected by the courts. If the government failed to provide the benefits established by entitlement legislation, those eligible to receive benefits could sue to enforce payment. Thus recipients are said to be entitled to these benefits.

The largest, best known, and most popular entitlement programs in the United States are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These three programs, combined with the retirement programs for federal government workers and members of the United States military, made up more than 80 percent of all federal entitlement spending in 1995 ( Congressional Budget Office [CBO] 1995a, p. 26).

Depending upon the degree of specificity used to characterize them within the federal budget, there may be as many as 232 entitlements or as few as 17. The larger number represents all entitlement accounts paid from either the general fund of the United States Treasury or a trust fund. These 232 entitlement accounts composed 97 percent of entitlement spending in 1992 ( Cahill 1992, p. 17). At a greater level of aggregation, Congress has stipulated 78 accounts as "appropriated entitlements and mandatories" ( U.S. Congress. House. 1990, p. 1176). At the highest level of aggregation, entitlements are reflected by the 17 programs (plus "other") listed by the Congressional Budget Office in its annual reports to the Congress ( CBO 1995c, p. 41).


The Establishment of Contemporary Entitlements

Entitlement programs have been in existence since the beginning of the American governmental experience. Military retirement was provided in 1776 and civilian federal

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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