By Jaquetta White
The Times-Picayune
Posted July 11, 2012

The board of the New Orleans Business Alliance approved a plan Wednesday that creates a framework through which companies that want to apply to the city for incentives would be evaluated and establishes the Orleans Parish economic development agency as the starting point for such activity. Under the plan, the Business Alliance, a public-private partnership created in August 2010 to recruit and retain business in the city, will analyze and evaluate requests for economic development incentives from various would-be investors in Orleans Parish. The plan is the first of its kind in New Orleans, where a formal method of evaluating requests for public financing has never existed.

“This process provides a real level of clarity, a level of transparency that has never existed in the city around public dollars,” Rodrick Miller, chief executive of the Business Alliance, said at the group’s meeting.

The Business Alliance will use its own economic impact model on each investment proposal to determine whether a project qualifies for incentives and which would best suit it. Based on that analysis, the agency will make nonbinding recommendations to the city boards that have the ability to offer incentives like tax increment financing, sales tax sharing agreements and property tax abatements.

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