TJTC and the promise and reality of redistributive vouchering and tax credit policy



The Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (TJTC) is a representative redistributive incentive. Initially, proponents saw TJTC as an elegant program, efficiently promoting labor market behavior that would solve the employment problems of many disadvantaged job seekers. However, interest groups distorted the credit into a windfall for businesses that hire large numbers of low wage workers. The policy theories incorporated into TJTC, which emphasized continual program reform and minimized program management by public administrators, provided a setting conducive to interest group distortion. Because few representatives of the disadvantaged participated in the oversight process, special interests undermined TJTC being reformed through empirical evaluation. This experience indicates that without major changes in the policy process, narrowly targeted rzdistributive policies should be avoided.