Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes testified to Interim Joint Appropriations and Revenue Committee last week on the status of the Cabinet and how they’re dealing with significant budget cuts in their office over the last few years.
Most of the budget impact has been a large reduction in staffing. Currently, the Cabinet’s staff has been reduced by 30% since 2007, including reducing the number of commissioners from three to one.
Secretary Hayes also discussed the impact of HB 3, which was passed during the 2009 Special Session. HB 3 combined all of the economic development incentives into one and created better accountability measures if the companies receiving the incentives did not meet their hiring goals in their agreements with the state. According to the Cabinet, there has been $3.5 billion in new investment from 350 firms that have been approved since the passage of HB 3. They claimed the new incentives have created 20,000 new jobs and helped retain more than 7,000 existing jobs.