Technical Assistance

Intro Incentives Course
November 7, 2018
Dallas, TX

Baker Tilly Virchow KrauseBNY MellonBricker & Eckler LLPBryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLPBusiness OregonCohnReznickFBT Project Finance Advisors LLCFifth Third BankFrost Brown Todd, LLCHawkins Delafield & Wood LLPIce Miller LLPKeyBanc Capital MarketsKutak Rock LLPMcCarter & English, LLPMcGuireWoodsMuniCap, Inc.NW Financial Group, LLCSB Friedman Development AdvisorsStern BrothersStifel NicolausU.S. BankWells Fargo SecuritiesZ. The Bond Buyer


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Incentive use has grown dramatically and become a more prominent – and challenging – part of economic development work. Economic development incentives can help locations attract, retain and develop business and industry, but they are also used to finance neighborhood revitalization, redevelop brownfields, provide workforce training and accomplish other important community objectives.

The Intro Incentives Course will examine the role of economic development incentives in conjunction with other development finance programs and explore how incentives can be used effectively and responsibly.

This course will consider how incentives are being used in today’s economic environment and outline steps that are being taken to reduce risk and achieve better outcomes. In particular, this course will address the characteristics of well-designed incentive programs and processes to ensure meaningful impact, value, and accountability.

This course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

2018 National Development Finance Summit

This year, the Intro Incentives Course will be held in conjunction with the 2018 CDFA National Development Finance Summit which will take place in Dallas, Texas. The CDFA National Summit brings together the leaders and dealmakers in the development finance industry to discuss best practices, trends, and project financing solutions.

The CDFA National Summit is a dealmaking event at its core with a program built to encourage networking and individualized learning about all types of development finance tools and programs. At the CDFA National Summit, you will meet industry experts, connect with financing, learn about the latest approaches, and discover development finance solutions to bring to your local community.


Course Objectives

  • Discover how incentives programs operate at the state, local, and regional level
  • Consider characteristics of well-designed incentive programs that work for both the business and the community to drive long-term, mutually beneficial economic development projects
  • Understand how to refine incentive strategies and reduce risk
  • Learn about approaches to compliance monitoring and program evaluation
  • Share strategies for meaningful reporting and communication on incentive use
  • Hear about the new rules for tax abatement disclosures
  • Discuss innovative incentive approaches being employed by communities across the country

Topics Covered

  • Incentives in the context of the development finance toolbox
  • Incentive program design elements
  • Due diligence and impact analysis
  • Performance agreements and compliance
  • Elements of program evaluation
  • Improving transparency, reporting and communication
  • Trends in incentive use

Who Should Attend?

  • Bond issuers
  • Economic development professionals
  • Community development professionals
  • Elected officials
  • Government and nonprofit finance officers
  • Corporate trustees
  • Legal counsel
  • Underwriters
  • Commercial bankers
  • Accountants
  • Financial advisors
  • Policy makers

Course Advisor

Ellen Harpel Ellen Harpel
CDFA Incentives Course Advisor
Smart Incentives
Dr. Ellen Harpel is the founder of Smart Incentives, which helps state and local governments make sound decisions throughout the economic development incentives process. She works with communities to implement policies that enable them to achieve... (More)


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wed 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Welcome & Overview
Welcome participants, introduce CDFA, and set the stage for the course.
Wed 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
What is an Incentive?
The opening session of the course will define an incentive and provide an overview of the variety of ways that incentives are used. Speakers will frame the national incentives discussion and explain how to include incentives in the development finance toolbox. The concept of a 4x4 framework will be introduced.
Wed 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Designing & Deploying Incentives
Every incentives program whether at the state or local level should be created with a thoughtful approach and careful attention to best practices. During this session, speakers will outline steps for setting goals and identifying the incentives needs depending on the community type. Considerations for determining the portfolio of programs, whether incentives should be discretionary or “by-right,” and how to negotiate incentives packages will also be discussed.
Wed 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Wed 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Using Data & Analytics to Reduce Risk
Making informed decisions based on data and analysis is one of the strongest ways to manage a transparent and fair incentives program. This session will highlight several best practices for background research, business case analysis, and establishing contracts and performance agreements. Technology and software solutions for impact analysis will also be addressed along with a discussion about using data for ongoing communication and monitoring.
Wed 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Lunch: Interactive Case Study: Incentives Planning for Your Community
Join our course advisor for an interactive presentation on incentives use and project planning. You will receive a supplemental information sheet for an exercise conducted during this session.
Wed 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Compliance Monitoring and Program Evaluation
Ongoing compliance of incentives programs is critical to experiencing success and establishing the long-term life of a program. During this session, speakers will address various methods for compliance monitoring and program evaluation and outline different approaches based on the types of incentives offered.
Wed 3:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Wed 3:15 PM - 3:45 PM
New Disclosure Rules for Tax Abatements
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) recently approved Statement No. 77, Tax Abatement Disclosures, which establishes guidance requiring state and local governments to disclose certain information about tax abatement agreements for periods beginning after December 15, 2015. This session will outline the requirements and explain how communities should prepare for meeting these disclosure rules.
Wed 3:45 PM - 4:15 PM
Reporting & Communication
Maintaining consistent and clear reporting is an accepted best practice in managing an incentives program. This session will focus on using transparent communication and involving the community so that incentives reports can be understood by all stakeholders. Several different approaches will be considered along with a discussion about choosing the best method for your community.
Wed 4:15 PM - 4:30 PM
Closing Thoughts & Resources
In this final session, our course advisor will answer questions and provide closing thoughts.


The 2018 National Development Finance Summit will be held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, located downtown in the vibrant Arts and Financial District. Enjoy the best of downtown Dallas - from the American Airlines Center to the cultral attractions of the Arts District - right at your fingertips.

Sheraton Dallas Hotel
400 North Olive Street
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-922-8000

Reserving a Room

CDFA has arranged a significantly reduced room rate of $199.00 (plus tax and service fees) per night for a standard room (single or double occupancy). Hotel rooms are available from November 6 to November 9 at the reduced rate if reservations are made before October 16. This rate is not guaranteed if reservations are made after the cut-off date or if the hotel is sold-out. Please reserve your room early.

>>>Reserve Hotel Rooms Online

Sheraton Dallas Hotel Directions

The Sheraton Dallas Hotel is served by two major airports. Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) is approximately 30 minutes away from the hotel and Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) is approximately 20 minutes away. The hotel is accessible by metered taxi and DART Light Rail System. For those arriving by car, driving directions are posted on the hotel's website. Valet parking is available upon request.


The Intro Incentives Course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

Register before September 14, 2018 for Early-Bird Rates.
Early Bird Rates
CDFA Member: $400
Non-Member: $550
Standard Rates
CDFA Member: $450
Non-Member: $600