Memphis Ranks Best in the Nation for Economic Transparency

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(Memphis) They are controversial, often favored by politicians and not the public.

But subsidies, or breaks given to companies to move to the area, are bringing a positive light to Memphis.

A national organization says Memphis and Shelby County is number one in the country to keep the public in the loop involving these breaks.

The breaks have been given to many companies including, International Paper, Mitsubishi, and Electrolux.

Thursday, Memphis and Shleby County got an edge because of its Edge program, also known as Economic Development Growth Engine.

A group called Good Jobs First, gave the city and county 110 out of 115 points for transparency, best in the country.

Edge started two years ago to help bring and keep business in the Mid-South.

CEO Reid Dulberger says you can find economic records online dating back to 1989, “We've scoured the records pertaining to projects from the past and put them up as well."

Dulberger says economic transparency is important, not just for businesses coming to town, but for people living here.

He says it helps make sure taxpayers know what’s being done with resources, “If you all don`t have confidence in what we are doing, you won`t allow us the use of these tools. If we don`t use these tools, more and more of our economic growth opportunity can go to other communities."

Dulberger hopes Memphis and Shelby’s top spot will create a more transparent community across the Mid-South.

“Nobody is claiming victory here. As more technology becomes available we will do more, but we do think we are heading in the right direction,” said Dulberger.