Hungry for jobs, Georgia has spent hundreds of millions of public dollars in the last decade on grants to recruit and retain businesses.
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How we got the story:
With the economy a top concern, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined whether the use of incentives has been effective in attracting jobs to the state. The newspaper examined 10 years worth of projects dating back to 2002 in an attempt to gain a broad understanding of how the incentives program has worked. The AJC also wanted to prevent the results from being skewed too heavily by the recession that took hold in late 2007.
The state’s files are not computerized so three reporters spent about three weeks at the state Department of Community Affairs reviewing more than 150 paper files. Some individual files filled whole boxes and stretched for thousands of pages.Older files had to be retrieved from archives.
The AJC examined only those files the state considered “closed,” meaning officials had completed their review. Another 95 projects are still open, meaning they are still in process.