Plentiful tax breaks fuel business growth in metro Atlanta — at a cost

A Mercedes-Benz sedan drives past the Mercedes-Benz USA corporate office building in Sandy Springs on March 13, 2017. Mercedes-Benz is one of the many large companies that benefits from multi-million-dollar government incentives. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)
A Mercedes-Benz sedan drives past the Mercedes-Benz USA corporate office building in Sandy Springs on March 13, 2017. Mercedes-Benz is one of the many large companies that benefits from multi-million-dollar government incentives. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)

Credit: Henry P. Taylor

Credit: Henry P. Taylor

Unelected agencies are giving big tax breaks to recruit businesses to metro Atlanta, a system that promotes development by relying on public financial support.

The cost of these tax deals often isn’t clear. State and local governments don’t track the overall number of deals made or the total value of tax benefits.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that about $500 million in property tax breaks have been awarded to businesses in DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb counties and the city of Atlanta over the last three years.

Critics  question whether these incentives, distributed by local agencies known as development authorities, are transparent, fair and accountable.

Please read more about how businesses benefit from generous public financial support on MyAJC.com.