Good Jobs First is a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. We provide timely, accurate information on best practices in state and local job subsidies, and on the many ties between smart growth and good jobs. Good Jobs First works with a very broad spectrum of organizations, providing research, training, communications and consulting assistance.
Good Jobs First
1616 P Street NW Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
The Corporate Research Project assists community, environmental and labor organizations in researching and analyzing companies and industries. The Project is designed to be a resource to aid activism. Consequently, our focus is on strategic research, i.e., identifying the information activists can use as leverage to get business to behave in a socially responsible manner
Good Jobs New York, our partnership project with the Fiscal Policy Institute,promotes policies that hold government officials and corporations accountable to taxpayers, particularly when economic development agencies give expensive subsidies to large corporations that threaten to leave New York City. Since its creation in 1999, GJNY increased transparency and public participation in numerous corporate retention deals and scrutinized mega-development projects such as the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and new stadiums for the New York Yankees and Mets.
Greg LeRoy, Executive Director
Philip Mattera, Research Director and the Director of the Corporate Research Project
Michelle Lee, Communications and Development Director
Leigh McIlvaine, Research Analyst
Tommy Cafcas, Research Analyst
Kasia Tarczynska, Research Analyst
Bettina Damiani, Project Director of Good Jobs New York
Elizabeth Bird, Research Analyst at Good Jobs New York
More about the Staff of Good Jobs First and its affiliates (listed in alphabetical order)
(e-mail addresses are listed with (at) instead of @ to thwart spamming)
Elizabeth joined Good Jobs New York with a background in urban sustainability and has provided research support to both non-profit community organizations and local government agencies in New York City. She has a Masters in Urban Planning from the Pratt Institute.
Thomas joined Good Jobs First after working as an economic development consultant analyzing demographic and economic trends for community plans primarily in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He has also worked in land use planning and zoning in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas. He holds a Bachelors and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Bettina joined Good Jobs New York with experience in community organizing, progressive public relations and political fundraising. Through her work with GJNY, Bettina was a founder of the Liberty Bond Housing Coalition, which advocates for the use of post-September 11th financing to create affordable housing for moderate and low-income New Yorkers. She has a B.A. in Communications and Peace Studies from Manhattan College and a Masters of Urban Affairs from Hunter College.
Michelle has worked in fundraising and development at various non-profit organizations in Washington, DC for numerous years. Prior to joining Good Jobs First, Michelle was the Development Coordinator at a media monitoring organization and an environmental organization focusing on raising funds through foundation and individual philanthropy. Michelle has a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University.
Dubbed “the leading national watchdog of state and local economic development subsidies” and “God's witness to corporate welfare,” Greg founded Good Jobs First in 1998 upon winning the Public Interest Pioneer Award. He has been writing, training, and consulting for state and local governments, associations of public officials, labor-management committees, unions, community groups, tax and budget watchdogs, environmentalists, and smart growth advocates more than 25 years.
Greg backed into his work on subsidy accountability accidentally, during his national consulting work on industrial job retention from Chicago from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s. He is associate producer of the 1984 PBS documentary The Last Pullman Car and consulted for state agencies in Illinois, New York, and Washington state. His 1986 Early Warning Manual Against Plant Closings (upon which he trained all 50 states’ Dislocated Worker Units under contract to the U.S. Department of Labor) and his 1989 study “Intervening With Aging Owners to Save Industrial Jobs” (the first study to quantify the risk of job loss due to a lack of entrepreneur succession planning) set precedents that guided many public agencies and non-profits.
Numerous plant closings he worked on involved abuse of economic development subsidies; factories that had received past subsidies were now being shuttered. Usually, the fine print revealed that such abuses were technically legal; those revelations lead to public outrage and the enactment of clawbacks to prevent future waste. Sometimes there was a basis for legal challenge: in 1987, Greg wrote a study that triggered the City of Duluth’s successful lawsuit against Triangle Corporation; the nationally-reported ruling arrested the closure of that city’s largest factory, Diamond Tool, based on an Industrial Revenue Bond contract. Between 1990 and 1992, he assisted the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers in Elkhart, Indiana in their multiple-abuse lawsuit against American Home Products that settled for $24 million on the eve of trial.
Collecting the reforms that were cropping up in the wake of these revelations (clawbacks, disclosure, job quality standards, etc.), Greg wrote No More Candy Store: States and Cities Making Job Subsidies Accountable in 1994. It was reviewed by the National Conference of State Legislatures a “famous polemic that contends that subsidies for economic development are mere corporate giveaways, and that calls for greater accountability and public restraint.
Founding Good Jobs First in Washington, DC in 1998, partnering with the Fiscal Policy Institute to launch Good Jobs New York in 2000, and welcoming the Corporate Research Project in 2001, Greg has built a full-service resource center for constituency-based organizations and public officials seeking to reform economic development. Greg has led GJF's work on smart growth and tax increment financing, while GJF's research team led by Phil Mattera has produced a string of precedential reports, blogs and web resources on state and local subsidies and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including unique ratings of the states on their online transparency.
In response to GJF’s 2003 study, A Better Deal for Illinois, that state enacted the nation’s best subsidy disclosure system. In 2005, New York City enacted the best local disclosure ordinance in the nation (enhanced in 2010) after repeated agitations by Good Jobs New York’s Bettina Damiani with the NYC Industrial Development Agency.
In 2005, Greg’s second book The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was widely covered by daily newspapers, specialty tax and development publications, C-Span’s Book TV and The New York Review of Books. Business Week called it a “powerful compendium of corporate tax dodging in the U.S.” More recently, he has contributed book chapters to Building Health Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers, and Policymakers (American Bar Association, 2009) and Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis (MIT Press, 2009).
Greg has spoken or trained for meetings of such diverse organizations as (alphabetically): AFL-CIO, Blue-Green Alliance, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Council of Development Finance Agencies, Economic Policy Institute, Gamaliel Foundation, International Economic Development Council, Jobs with Justice, National Conference of State Legislatures, National League of Cities, Local Government Commission/New Partners for Smart Growth, Progressive States Network, Rail~Volution, the Sierra Club, and many scores of state and local constituency-based, governmental, and academic organizations.
Research Director of Good Jobs First and Director of the Corporate Research Project
Phil has been doing strategic corporate research for labor, environmental, public-interest and other activist groups around the country for more than two decades. Before that he spent a decade as a business journalist. He is a licensed private investigator; author of four books on business, labor and economics; and a long-time member of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981). His blog on corporate research and corporate misbehavior is the Dirt Diggers Digest.
Leigh joined Good Jobs First after completing a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She has formerly worked as a consultant in economic development and program evaluation for a rural development NGO in Kerala, India. Leigh recently carried out broad analyses of job creation in sustainable manufacturing industry subsectors for an economic development program jointly supported by the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul and the Blue Green Alliance.
Learn more about subsidy practices and controversial deals in this resource covering each of the 50 states and Washington, DC.
The first national compilation of company-specific information on economic development subsidy awards from around the country. Search the database here.