Economic Developers & Government


Consumer Spending During a COVID-19 Lockdown

Consumer Spending During a COVID-19 Lockdown

Shelter-in-place orders, lockdowns, and shutdowns in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are wreaking havoc on workers and businesses across the United States and the world. If the experience of other countries is any indication, we are in the early days of our attempt to stop the spread of the virus and the lockdown orders may continue for some time.

Impact DataSource developed this website to help visualize changes in consumer spending patterns that are occurring right now. We use the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure Survey data to serve as the baseline spending and make projections about spending that may shift, be put on hold, or stop entirely. You can review the spending categories and adjust what you think the overall reaction will be across consumers and see the effect to spending in your metro area.

Why Focus on Consumer Spending?

Evaluating consumer spending is only one of the many interrelated issues facing our economy right now. At the exact time lockdowns are causing consumers to change spending patterns, many workers are losing income through reduced hours or layoffs. This loss in worker income and the reduction in business-to-business spending will also have a very real impact on the economy. We choose to focus on consumer spending because we are all consumers which enables us to more easily illustrate part of what is going on in the economy. In addition, concentrating on consumer spending in this crisis can be helpful for local economic developers and other government officials to comprehend the issues we face.

How Does Consumer Spending Change During a Lockdown?

The short answer is no one knows.

In the United States, restrictions are being imposed inconsistently at the state and local level. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that every community and consumer will be affected differently.

The NY Times and Wired are keeping updated maps about which states and localities have instituted some sort of stay-at-home or lockdown measure.

How Does the App Work?

We start with a normal spending profile, adjust the spending for a month in a lockdown. Then we project the annual spending for 2020 based on how many months the lockdown lasts and how many months it takes to return to normal spending if every household in the metro followed that exact spending profile.

Here’s more detail on how to use the app and how it works.

Select a Normal Spending Profile

Users can choose a baseline or “normal” spending profile for household expenditures. The choices include a national average as well as spending profiles based on household size. Users are then able to indicate, in percentage terms, how spending will change due to a COVID-19 lockdown on a monthly basis by category.

As a starting point, our app incorporates our best guess at how spending will be affected during a lockdown. You can see our notes about each spending category and get more detail on what each spending category includes below.

We graph the monthly “normal” spending and “during lockdown” spending by category.

Choose a Metro and Project the Lockdown Duration/Recovery

Users can select a metro area and indicate how long a lockdown might last as well as how long it will take to return to ‘normal’ spending. We estimate the aggregate change in consumer spending in the metro area if all households in the metro area were identical to the subject household. The aggregate change in consumer spending is projected for the year 2020.

To estimate the 2020 annual spending change, we calculate the difference between normal spending and the monthly spending dictated by the user inputs. We simplify the calculations by assuming the following:

  • January – Normal Spending
  • February – Normal Spending
  • March – Two weeks Normal + Two Weeks Lockdown Spending
  • April – Lockdown Spending
  • May to December – Dependent on your selections

In reality, it’s possible consumer spending will shoot back up in the months following the lockdown – consumers end up ‘catching up’ for lost spending – but we don’t account for this. In many of the expenditure categories the spending will truly be lost – you won’t go out and get three months’ worth of haircuts after a lockdown.

Because we are assuming every household is identical to the selected subject household, the aggregate spending and loss in spending can vary pretty drastically. The most realistic results will be generated using the National Average, Two Person Household, and Three Person Household profiles.

About the Data

In order to create our COVID-19 Consumer Spending app, we relied on consumer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey to serve as the baseline or normal spending profile. Specifically, we use Table 1400. Size of Consumer Unit Annual Expenditure from 2018 which was released in 2019 (the most recent period available). For more information on this data source click here. 

For our purposes, it made sense to analyze spending on a monthly basis. We obtained monthly estimates by dividing the annual expenditures by 12. Realistically, spending in these categories may occur unevenly over twelve months.

Average Spending Looks Weird

As noted by the BLS: The data shown in the published tables are averages for all consumer units, or for all the consumer units in a particular demographic group. For example, the expenditures, income, and characteristics for the group with a reference person as a one-person consumer unit are averaged across all consumer units with that characteristic. Because not all consumer units purchase each item during the survey period, the average expenditure for an item is generally considerably lower than the expenditure by those consumer units that purchased that item. The less frequently an item is purchased, the greater the difference between the average for all consumer units and the average for those purchasing the item.

Detailed Notes on Expenditure Categories and Adjustments

In the sections below, we provide additional detail each of the expenditure categories listed in the app as well as our thinking on how the spending might change during a COVID-19 lockdown.

Food Expenditures

Groceries – Lockdowns result in people eating more meals at home and therefore purchasing more groceries.

Adjustment Guess: 150%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Food at home refers to the total expenditures for food at grocery stores (or other food stores) and food prepared by the consumer unit on trips. It excludes the purchase of nonfood items.

Restaurants – Lockdowns are requiring restaurants to convert to take-out or delivery only. Although these expenditures aren’t going to zero, lockdowns are significantly reducing the amount spent at restaurants.

Adjustment Guess: 20%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Food away from home includes all meals (breakfast and brunch, lunch, dinner and snacks and nonalcoholic beverages) including tips at fast food, take-out, delivery, concession stands, buffet and cafeteria, at full-service restaurants, and at vending machines and mobile vendors. Also included are board (including at school), meals as pay, special catered affairs, such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and confirmations, school lunches, and meals away from home on trips.

Alcoholic Beverages – This category includes alcoholic beverage purchased at bars and restaurants as well as alcohol to be consumed at home. Lockdowns may cause some individuals to drink more at home than usual, however, lockdowns are likely having a negative effect on the overall sales of alcohol because bars and restaurants are closed.

Adjustment Guess: 40%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Alcoholic beverages includes beer and ale, wine, whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, and other alcoholic beverages.

Housing Expenditures

Mortgage or Rent – Lockdowns by themselves will not necessarily mean a change in consumer behavior when it comes to paying mortgages or rent. There is likely a very real and significant negative effect on mortgage or rent payments as workers lose income as a result of the lockdowns.

Adjustment Guess: 95%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Owned dwellings includes interest on mortgages, interest on home equity loans and lines of credit, property taxes and insurance, refinancing and prepayment charges, ground rent, expenses for property management and security, homeowners’ insurance, fire insurance and extended coverage, expenses for repairs and maintenance contracted out, and expenses of materials for owner-performed repairs and maintenance for dwellings used or maintained by the consumer unit. Mortgage principal repayments are payments of loans and are shown in Other financial information.

Rented dwellings includes rent paid for dwellings, rent received as pay, parking fees, maintenance, and other expenses.

Utilities – Lockdowns may result in a slight increase in the use of utilities because people are spending more time at home.

Adjustment Guess: 120%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Utilities, fuels, and public services includes natural gas; electricity; fuel oil and other fuels, such as wood, kerosene, coal, and bottled gas; water and other public services, such as garbage and trash collection, sewerage maintenance, septic tank cleaning; and telephone charges.

Hotels & Other Housing – We break out this category specifically to capture the reduction in hotel spending. Even before states began lockdowns, many businesses and consumers began to curtail travel. This category is expected to see a reduction in spending.

Adjustment Guess: 0%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Other lodging includes all expenses for vacation homes, school, college, hotels, motels, and other lodging while out of town.

Daycare –Personal services include babysitting, daycare, nursery school and preschool tuition. Lockdowns are closing schools as well as daycare facilities. Presumably, many consumers are still paying for these services despite a temporary closure. Some may need to hire additional daycare services to work from home or get help from relatives. Overall, we’ve assumed no change in daycare.

Adjustment Guess: 100%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Personal services includes baby-sitting; day care, nursery school, and preschool tuition; care of the elderly, invalids and handicapped; adult day care; and domestic and other duties.

Other Household Expenses – Lockdowns most likely won’t have a significant impact on this spending unless all non-essential businesses are prohibited.

Adjustment Guess: 100%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Other household expenses includes housekeeping services, gardening and lawn care services, coin-operated laundry and dry-cleaning (non-clothing), termite and pest control products and services, home security systems service fees, moving, storage, and freight expenses, repair of household appliances and other household equipment, repair of computer systems for home use, computer information services, reupholstering and furniture repair, rental and repair of lawn and gardening tools, and rental of other household equipment.

Housekeeping Supplies – Many people are being more diligent about cleaning so there may be a slight increase in cleaning supplies due to COVID-19.

Adjustment Guess: 110%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Housekeeping supplies includes laundry and cleaning supplies, cleaning and toilet tissues, stationery supplies, postage, delivery services, miscellaneous household products, and lawn and garden supplies.

Household Furnishings & Equip – Lockdowns will likely result in consumers holding off on household furnishing and equipment purchases.

Adjustment Guess: 10%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Household textiles includes bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and dining room, other linens, curtains and drapes, slipcovers and decorative pillows, and sewing materials.

Furniture includes living room; dining room; kitchen; bedroom; nursery; porch, lawn, and other outdoor furniture.

Floor coverings includes new and replacement wall-to-wall carpets, room-size rugs, and other non-permanent floor coverings.

Major appliances includes refrigerators and freezers, dishwashers and garbage disposals, stoves and ovens, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, air-conditioners, sewing machines, washing machines and dryers, and floor cleaning equipment.

Small appliances/miscellaneous housewares includes small electrical kitchen appliances, portable heating and cooling equipment, china and other dinnerware, flatware, glassware, silver and other serving pieces, nonelectric cookware, and plastic dinnerware (excludes personal care appliances).

Miscellaneous household equipment includes typewriters, luggage, lamps and light fixtures, window coverings, clocks, lawnmowers and gardening equipment, other hand and power tools, telephone answering devices, telephones and accessories, computers and computer hardware for home use, computer software and accessories for home use, calculators, business equipment for home use, floral arrangements and house plants, rental of furniture, closet and storage items, other household decorative items, infants’ equipment, outdoor equipment, smoke alarms, other household appliances, and other small miscellaneous furnishings.

Transportation Expenditures

Vehicle Purchases – Lockdowns will likely result in consumers holding off on purchasing vehicles.

Adjustment Guess: 10%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Vehicle purchases (net outlay) includes the net outlay (purchase price minus trade-in value) on new and used domestic and imported cars and trucks and other vehicles, including motorcycles and private planes.

Gasoline – With many individuals working from home during lockdowns travel being reduced significantly, we expect a reduction in spending on fuel.

Adjustment Guess: 30%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Gasoline and motor oil includes gasoline, diesel fuel, and motor oil.

Other Vehicle Expenses – This category includes two expenditures that will likely see no change and one that will likely see a reduction. Vehicle insurance and vehicle finance charges can be expected to remain constant however vehicle maintenance expenditures will likely decline.

Adjustment Guess: 80%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Vehicle finance charges includes the dollar amount of interest paid for a loan contracted for the purchase of vehicles described above.

Maintenance and repairs includes tires, batteries, tubes, lubrication, filters, coolant, additives, brake and transmission fluids, oil change, brake work including adjustment, front-end alignment, wheel balancing, steering repair, shock absorber replacement, clutch and transmission repair, electrical system repair, exhaust system repair, body work and painting, motor repair, repair to cooling system, drive train repair, drive shaft and rear-end repair, tire repair, audio equipment, other maintenance and services, and auto repair policies.

Vehicle insurance includes the premium paid for insuring cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

Car Rentals – We break out this category specifically to capture the reduction in car rental spending. Even before states began lockdowns, many businesses and consumers began to curtail travel. This category is expected to see a reduction in spending.

Adjustment Guess: 0%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Vehicle rental, leases, licenses, and other charges includes leased and rented cars, trucks, motorcycles, and aircraft; inspection fees; State and local registration; driver’s license fees; parking fees; towing charges; tolls; and automobile service clubs.

Public & Other Transportation – Public transportation will likely be reduced during a lockdown and “other transportation” includes air travel which has seen a significant reduction.

Adjustment Guess: 10%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Public transportation includes fares for mass transit, buses, trains, airlines, taxis, school buses for which a fee is charged, and boats.

All Other Expenditure Categories

Apparel– Lockdowns will result in fewer clothing purchases.

Adjustment Guess: 20%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Men’s and boys’ apparel includes coats and jackets, sweaters and vests, sportcoats and tailored jackets, trousers and slacks, shorts and short sets, sportswear, shirts, underwear, nightwear, hosiery, uniforms, and other accessories.

Women’s and girls’ apparel includes coats and jackets, furs, sportcoats and tailored jackets, sweaters and vests, blouses and shirts, dresses, jeans, culottes, slacks, shorts, sportswear, underwear, nightwear, uniforms, hosiery, and other accessories.

Apparel for children under age 2 includes coats, jackets, and snowsuits; underwear; diapers; dresses; crawlers and other sleeping garments; hosiery; footwear; and accessories.

Footwear includes articles such as shoes, slippers, boots, and other similar items. It excludes footwear for children under age 2 and special footwear used for sports such as bowling or golf shoes.

Other apparel products and services includes material for making clothes, shoe repair, alterations and repairs, sewing patterns and notions, clothing rental, clothing storage, dry cleaning and sent-out laundry, watches, jewelry, and repairs to watches and jewelry.

Health Care – A COVID-19 lockdown may result in an increase in health care spending by a typical consumer.

Adjustment Guess: 120%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Health insurance includes traditional fee-for-service health plans, preferred-provider health plans, health maintenance organizations (HMO’s), commercial Medicare supplements, and other health insurance.

Medical services includes hospital room and services, physicians’ services, service by a professional other than a physician, eye and dental care, lab tests and X-rays, medical care in a retirement community, care in convalescent or nursing home, and other medical care service.

Drugs includes nonprescription drugs and vitamins and prescription drugs.

Medical supplies includes topicals and dressings, antiseptics, bandages, cotton, first aid kits, contraceptives, syringes, ice bags, thermometers, sun lamps, vaporizers, heating pads, medical appliances (such as braces, canes, crutches, walkers, eyeglasses, and hearing aids), and rental and repair of medical equipment.

Entertainment – Consumers may shift some of their spending within this category but overall, we expect a reduction in entertainment spending because many entertainment options (such as sporting events) are prohibited during a lockdown.

Adjustment Guess: 20%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Fees and admissions includes fees for participant sports; admissions to sporting events, movies, concerts, and plays; health, swimming, tennis and country club memberships; fees for other social, recreational, and fraternal organizations; recreational lessons or instruction; rental of movies, and recreation expenses on trips.

Television, radio, and sound equipment includes television sets, video recorders, video cassettes, tapes, discs, disc players, video game hardware, video game cartridges, cable TV, radios, phonographs, tape recorders and players, sound components, records, compact discs, and tapes (including records, compact discs, and tapes purchased through mail order clubs), musical instruments, and rental and repair of TV and sound equipment.

Pets, toys, hobbies, and playground equipment includes pets, pet food, pet services, veterinary expenses, etc.; toys, games, hobbies, and tricycles; and playground equipment.

Other entertainment equipment and services includes indoor exercise equipment, athletic shoes, bicycles, trailers, purchase and rental of motorized campers and other recreational vehicles, camping equipment, hunting and fishing equipment, sports equipment (winter, water, and other), boats, boat motors and boat trailers, rental of boats, landing and docking fees, rental and repair of sports equipment, photographic equipment and supplies (film and film processing), photographer fees, repair and rental of photo equipment, fireworks, and pinball and electronic video games.

Personal Care Products & Services – It is likely that consumers will spend less on personal care products during a lockdown. Additionally, a lockdown will prevent many of the personal services from being provided.

Adjustment Guess: 30%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Personal care products and services includes products for the hair, oral hygiene products, shaving needs, cosmetics and bath products, electric personal care appliances, other personal care products, and personal care services for males and females.

Cash Contributions – Cash contributions include alimony, child support, and care of students away from home – which aren’t expected to be different in lockdown situation. The category also includes cash contributions to religious, educational, charitable, or political organizations. An argument can be made for an increase as well as a decrease and so we have left this category unchanged.

Adjustment Guess: 100%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Cash contributions includes cash contributed to persons or organizations outside the consumer unit, including alimony and child support payments; care of students away from home; and contributions to religious, educational, charitable, or political organizations.

Personal Insurance & Pensions – This category includes life insurance and other personal insurance as well as contributions to retirement, pensions and Social Security. We don’t expect a significant immediate change in this category in response to a lockdown.

Adjustment Guess: 100%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Life, endowment, annuities, and other personal insurance includes premiums for whole life and term insurance; endowments; income and other life insurance; mortgage guarantee insurance; mortgage life insurance; premiums for personal liability, accident and disability, and other nonhealth insurance other than for homes and vehicles.

Retirement, pensions, and Social Security includes all Social Security contributions paid by employees; employee contributions to railroad retirement, government retirement, and private pension programs; and retirement programs for the self-employed.

Reading – Consumers may spend a little more on books during a lockdown.

Adjustment Guess: 105%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Reading includes subscriptions for newspapers and magazines; books through book clubs; e-books and digital reading material; and the purchase of single-copy newspapers, magazines, newsletters, books, and encyclopedias and other reference books.

Education – Education spending is likely locked in so less sensitive to monthly spending changes.

Adjustment Guess: 100%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Education includes tuition; fees; and textbooks, supplies, and equipment for public and private nursery schools, elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, and other schools.

Tobacco – Consumers may spend a little more on tobacco products during a lockdown due to more time at home and added stress.

Adjustment Guess: 110%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Tobacco products and smoking supplies includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, loose smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and smoking accessories (such as cigarette or cigar holders, pipes, flints, lighters, and pipe cleaners).

Miscellaneous – We assume this category is unchanged. Many of the miscellaneous spending categories will likely go down during a lockdown. However, funerals are included in this category which may see an increase during a COVID-19 lockdown.

Adjustment Guess: 100%

BLS Consumer Expenditure Category Definition:

Miscellaneous includes safety deposit box rental, checking account fees and other bank service charges, credit card memberships, legal fees, accounting fees, funerals, cemetery lots, union dues, occupational expenses, expenses for other properties, and finance charges other than those for mortgages and vehicles.

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Webinar: Indiana Municipal Power Agency’s Impact DashBoard Model 2019

Impact DataSource is again providing access to a customized Impact DashBoard model for IMPA members. Impact DashBoard is the only impact model developed specifically for economic developers. The model estimates the economic and fiscal impact of new economic development projects based on user-entered info like projected employment, salaries, and capital investment. This model is available at no charge to IMPA member organizations and you may reach out to Jenny Hartley with IMPA to request access.

Check out the video below of our webinar from December 10, 2019 to learn how to gain access to Impact DashBoard and how to use this resource to analyze and organize your economic development projects. We discuss the following:

  • Components necessary to create an economic and fiscal impact analysis
  • Incentive analysis tips
  • Impact DashBoard new features
  • Future updates

Have more questions about the nuts and bolts of the model? Contact Paul Scheuren ([email protected])

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Impact DashBoard Training Workshop – October 2019

Impact DashBoard Training Workshop

Presented by Impact DataSource

San Antonio, TX 
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Training Notes

Spice up the Project Description

We can enhance the Project Description to include the following formatting elements: bold text, a list,  and tables. Here’s how we would write out our information using Markdown:

This analysis evaluates the impact of a proposed **252-room full-service hotel** to be developed at a **cost of $73.9 million**. The hotel is expected to create **230 new jobs**. The hotel's construction cost was estimated using information from the annual HVS Cost Survey for a full-service hotel. The cost of $293,000 per room includes costs for building and improvements, soft costs, and furniture, fixtures, and equipment. 
##### Operations
The hotel’s lodging sales and spending by visitors throughout the community result in significant local sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy taxes. This report relies on the following information about the proposed hotel:
* 252 Rooms
* 65% Occupancy Rate
* $200 Average Daily Rate
The hotel’s annual lodging sales are expected to be approximately $11.96 million per year
| **Hotel Details** | **Amount** | 
| :--------- | -----------: | 
| Lodging Sales | $11,957,400 | 
| Hotel Occupancy Taxes (7%) | $837,018 | 
The hotel's other taxable sales - on food and beverage sales for example - are estimated to be 35% of lodging sales or $4.2 million per year. In addition, this analysis includes $50 of taxable spending per occupied hotel night to account for offsite visitor spending.
| **Other Spending & Sales** | **Amount** | 
| :--------- | -----------: | 
| Other Hotel Sales | $4,185,090 | 
| Offsite Visitor Spending | $2,989,350 | 

Now that we’ve entered in the correct information with Markdown, let’s click the preview tab in the Description box to make sure that everything is formatted correctly:

Perfect! We can now see our correctly formatted Public Support Description in our Detailed Report: 

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Impact DashBoard Update – September 2019

The latest feature releases for Impact DashBoard include:

  • New Public Support Overview Description
  • Advanced Description Text Formatting
  • Contribute Portion of Sales Taxes to TIF

  • Reimbursement Terminology Available for Public Support

New Public Support Overview Description

The Public Support tab now includes a new Overview Section where users can view a summary of Public Support modeled. The values in the table are automatically populated based on what public support the user entered for each specific district. Below the Public Support Overview table is a new Description box where users can provide details about the incentive package. This description will appear in the Public Support Overview section of the Detailed Report .  

Advanced Description Text Formatting

Users now have advanced formatting options when using the Description boxes (The first Description box is on the Scenario Info Page; the second Description box is on the Public Support Overview tab.)

Formatting options include creating small, medium, or large headers, making text bold, italic, or both, and creating numbered and bulled point lists. 

To use these formatting options, use “Markdown text” in the “Write” tab in the Description box. *You can get help with the syntax for “Markdown text” by clicking  the “Formatting Help” link in the Description box or also in screenshots below. 

After entering your description with Markdown text in the “Write” tab, use the “Preview” tab to ensure that your formatting is correct.

Here are some screenshots showing how to use Markdown: 

Here’s an example of how you would write out Markdown text in the Description box: 

This is the formatting that would appear using that Markdown text:

Format a Table in Markdown

Let’s go over one more example. We want the Public Support Description to include the following formatting elements: a list, a table, and italics. Here’s how we would write out our information using Markdown:

The non-tax incentive considered by the city includes two components:
1. Job Creation Grant calculated as $500 per job as hired = $200,000
2. Infrastructure Grant paid upfront= $150,000
| City Non-Tax Incentive | Amount |
| :--------- | :----------- | 
| Job Grant* | $200,000 |
| Infrastructure Grant | $150,000 |
| **Total** | **$350,000**|
**Note: The Job Grant calculated based on $500 per job*


Now that we’ve entered in the correct information with Markdown, let’s click the preview tab in the Description box to make sure that everything is formatted correctly:

Perfect! We can now see our correctly formatted Public Support Description in our Detailed Report: 

Contribute Portion of Sales Taxes to TIF

We can now contribute local sales tax to the TIF entity. This is configured by going into a project scenario and clicking on the Settings Gear at the top right of the page. Click on the TIF District tab and enter in a value in the right column “Taxable Sales”.  

Reimbursement Terminology Available

We added another option for incentive terminology similar to Abatement, Exemption, and Rebate. Users can now specify a “Reimbursement” by clicking on the dropdown next to the headings on the Public Support page. 

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Impact DashBoard Training Workshop

Texas Economic Developers –

Join us in San Antonio before the TEDC Annual Conference for a free Impact DashBoard training workshop. During this workshop, attendees will receive an in depth training using the Impact DashBoard cost-benefit software. 

Economic developers will work through detailed impact scenarios that require the user to:

  • Customize cost/benefit analysis with special revenues/costs
  • Modify scenario assumptions
  • Model common Texas incentive packages
  • Conduct scenario analysis to determine a project’s key assumptions
  • Prepare for stakeholder questions/push back
  • Use the descriptions to bring your report to life
  • Keep your account organized

When: Wednesday, October 9th, 9am-12pm
Where: The Villa Room at The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio
Cost: Free
What to Bring: A laptop to follow along in Impact DashBoard

Attendees are encouraged to submit topics/questions that they’d like addressed during the workshop.

Register Here

Do attendees have to be current Impact DataSource clients? 

No – all economic developers interested in learning more about impact analysis are welcome!

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Impact DashBoard Update – June 2019

The latest feature releases for Impact DashBoard include several new incentive modeling options as well as a new summary report. Let’s dig in.

New Community Summary Report

The new Community Report option allows you to create a custom one-page infographic summary report for any combination of districts included in your analysis. Up to this point, the Impact DashBoard Summary reports included information for just one tax entity. Now, this new Community Report feature allows you to summarize results for the city AND the county on one page. The report can be configured in a number of different ways so you can aggregate the impact for however many districts you choose. Go wild – include all of the districts in your scenario in your new Community Report.  

Sales Tax Rebates on Capital Investment-Related Expenditures

Sometimes ED incentives include exempting the sales tax paid on construction materials or purchases of equipment or machinery. Now Impact DashBoard can help you model these incentives. Based on the capital investments in “Buildings and Other Real Property Improvements” and “Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FFE), you can exempt all or a portion of the sales taxes estimated in the scenario. 

Construction Materials

Impact DashBoard includes several parameters to determine the construction material sales tax  for a scenario. First, we assume a certain portion of the Building and Other Real Improvement costs is spent on construction materials (50% is a typical default). Next, assuming the district in question collects a local sales tax, we will assume a certain portion of those construction materials will be purchased in district and will be subject to the local sales tax. Finally, the new sales tax rebate section accepts an input for what percent of the construction materials sales tax you will rebate. 


Rebates on sales taxes for FFE purchases rely on several parameters as well including the local sales tax rate, percent to be rebated, and the portion of the FFE purchased in district and subject to the local sales tax. 

Community Incentive Option

As Impact DashBoard users know, they can model an incentive from an individual district and determine the ROI and payback period using the individual tax district’s net benefits. In other words if the city is going to offer an ED grant of $100k, Impact DashBoard compares that $100k investment to the return the city receives in the form of net additional revenues from the project. An exciting new feature just added to Impact DashBoard takes this concept one step further. Imagine if an incentive were provided on behalf of the entire community – city, county, school district, and all other local jurisdictions – and you want to compare that investment against the net additional revenues to all of the affected districts. That’s exactly what we’ve created with a Community Non-Tax Incentive. In fact, you can compare an incentive against the combined net benefits  of any combination of jurisdictions in the model. Perhaps you just want to compare an incentive provided jointly by the city and county, now you can do that. 

How it Works

You’ll find the new Community Non-Tax Incentive feature on the Public Support page on the Community tab. 

You can choose which districts will participate in the Community Non-Tax Incentive.

You enter the incentive amount and see the ROI.

Next, you can allocate the entire incentive amount to the participating districts. For example, you might choose “Equal Share” and each district will be allocated an equal share of the total incentive. You might choose “Proportional to Net Benefits” and each district will be allocated a portion of the incentive equal to its contribution to the combined Net Benefits for participating districts. You may also choose “Custom” and enter individual percentages that add up to 100%.

Based on your allocation, the ROI will be calculated for the individual districts and over all.

Finally, all of the calculations will be incorporated into the reports – including the brand new Community Summary Report.

Calendar Years Option

At your request, we  can give you the option of showing Calendar Years on the inputs to your model to help you align the investment schedule with reality. The default is still Year 1 – Year 2 – Year 3 but let us know if you’d like to have calendar Years option enabled for your account.

Short 10-Minute Overview

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Complete Video Demo of Impact DashBoard

Complete Video Demo of Impact DashBoard

If you want a lot of information about Impact DashBoard or just need a quick refresher, we’ve got you covered.

Watch the full series of videos to get a complete demo of Impact DashBoard or jump to the specific topic of interest.

  1. Impact DashBoard by Impact DataSource
  2. Project Background and Entering the Basics
  3. Entering Jobs, Salaries, and Capital Investment
  4. Calculating Taxable Value from Capital Investment
  5. Scenario Info DashBoard
  6. Public Support
  7. Summary Report
  8. Detailed Report
  9. Printing Reports
  10. Change the Length of Analysis
  11. Add a Custom Revenue Line Item
  12. TIF Districts
  13. Project Control Center
  14. Tag Projects and Upload Documents
  15. Projects Overview

For more information on Impact DashBoard, check out our product page or contact Nicole – [email protected] or 469.917.8874

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Impact DashBoard Update – March 2019

We have been hard at work completing a redesign of the Impact DashBoard platform and adding new features. Here’s a detailed explanation of what you’ll find in the new update, or scroll down to the bottom of the page and view the video demonstration.

New Design & Features:

  • New Navigation Menu
  • New Project Categories
  • Project Tile View or List View
  • Project Tags
  • Project Control Center
  • Scenario Workspace
  • Scenario Info
  • Public Support
  • Report
  • Settings/Assumptions
  • My Account

New Navigation Menu & Project Categories

The new navigation menu located on the left side of the screen allows users to easily access Project Categories (Active, Won, Lost, Archived, or All), jump to recently viewed projects, access their “My Account” page, or Sign Out. The navigation collapses when not in use in order to maximize screen space. Simply move your cursor over the gray navigation strip on the left of the page to access the navigation menu.

Project Tile or List View

Based on your preference, view your projects in either a Tile or List view.  To change views, use the icons at the top right of the Projects page next to the “Create Project” button. Both options allow users to view the Project name, number of scenarios, tags, and the date you last edited the project.

Project Control Center​

One of the most exciting new pages in the redesign is the Project Control Center. After clicking on a Project you’ll see the Project Control Center where users can view a list of scenarios created for a project, review/add/remove Project tags and upload/download/remove Project documents.

Users can add a new scenario, send data requests, edit/copy/delete scenarios all from the Project Control Center.

The Project Control Center also allows users to preview scenario information and results by clicking on the Preview icon to the left of the scenario name. The preview data on the right side of the Control Center updates to reveal information and results for a selected scenario.

Scenario Workspace Redesign​

The Scenario Workspace is similar to previous versions of the app but has been redesigned for ease of use. The Scenario Info page of the Scenario Workspace includes all of the project-specific inputs required for the analysis on the left side and a dashboard of results on the right side. Users can view the impact on any of the tax district included in the model in the redesigned dashboard.

Longtime model users will notice the General Info pop-up modal in previous versions has been broken up into three parts as seen at the top left of the screenshot: Description, Location, and Industry.

Description – Users can name the scenario and provide a summary of the analysis that will be included the in Detailed Report

Location – Users can identify the specific tax districts to be included in the analysis and enter an address for the project.

Industry – Users can identify a NAICS code for the scenario which will pull in the appropriate economic impact multipliers. Users also have the ability to overwrite the inputs with custom multipliers. 

Public Support​

The Public Support page of the Scenario Workspace has been modified to all users to specify the type of property tax or sales tax incentive. Options include “Tax Abatement”, “Tax Exemption”, and “Tax Rebate” and can be modified by clicking on the section heading. The analysis is identical for each option but the labels throughout the analysis will speak your specific plans.

Users can model Public Support for any tax district

included in the model. Use the new navigation menu on the left side of the Public Support page to select the desired tax district to apply various types of economic development incentives. 


The new report page layout includes a navigation menu on the left that allows users to choose whether they’d like to view the Summary Report or Detailed Report. Further, users can choose to view a Summary Report for any taxing district included in the analysis. The reports have a new look, as well! View samples of the redesigned reports here:

My Account​

Access your My Account page by clicking on the link at the bottom of the Navigation Menu. On your My Account page, access your userguide, update or change your contact information, and specify a color scheme for your Impact DashBoard experience. The default color scheme is Blue but other color options include a Green or Red. Choose a color that compliments your logo – the color scheme will re-brand the entire app with your selected highlight color – including the reports. See screenshots of the various color schemes below.

From the My Account page, click on the Tags page to view and edit existing tags and see which projects are associated with each tag. Click on TIF Districts to create or edit a Tax Increment Financing District profiles.

Webinar Replay

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WEBINAR: Impact DashBoard Product Update, February 2019

We have been hard at work building out a redesign and adding new features to Impact DashBoard. Join us for a webinar where we will show you new features and teach you how to navigate the redesigned application.

Topics covered:

  • Redesigned app with improved styling & navigation
  • New ways to organize & categorize projects
  • New Project Control Center that allows for:
    • Attaching documents
    • Viewing scenario snapshots
    • Mapping
  • Improved report formats

Watch a video recording of the webinar below:

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Impact DashBoard Peer ProTip with Ann Miller

Looking for tips on how to best utilize Impact DashBoard? Read how Impact DashBoard subscribers utilize their models. Below you’ll find peer advice from a seasoned Impact DashBoard veteran: Ann Miller, CEcD, Executive Director at Buda EDC.

Here are topics that you can find below:

Data Needed to Analyze a Project

So how do we get the data? So we have an incentive application that projects we work with directly have to complete. If you want to get a copy of it, it’s downloadable at our website under the resources tab [or here]. We also can get most of the data we need to run in initial incentive analysis with the Impact Dashboard through RFPs from the state and region or leads or RFPs from consultants. The main thing we need is jobs, wages and their capital investment.

Who Gets the Reports?

So initially the incentive taskforce which reviews all potential incentives and then makes the determination of what an offer would be gets the report. Then as the project moves forward, a copy of the report is given to the EDC Board and city council. Then after the performance agreement is approved and the project is made public, anyone who wants copy of the report can request the report. We’ve given them to the news media and lately we’ve started giving them to the school districts so they can know the impact on their revenues that a project will have.

How Do We Present the Results?

So we use the full report primarily. I’ve made a sample project so you can download that sample full report if you want. Then we use what I call the pretty synopsis report (one page summary report). When we make our project announcements and follow-ups, the news media seems to like the summary report, so that’s what we use primarily.

Comprehensive Impacts of Multiple Projects

Impact DashBoard helped us help us to take the politics out of the economic development. So recently we’ve had some people who have thought it might be a good idea to just get rid of the economic development entity and not that we didn’t need one. We are growing so rapidly. We’re outside of Austin.

So we actually ran this report called the EDC Impacts. So we went back over the last 10 years and looked back at all the projects we’ve worked on and took 60% of those projects and their property taxable value, which was 133 million dollars over 10 years. We generated this report that showed that over 10 years from projects we brought to the city, the city got 5.48 million dollars from that revenue. Then we showed that the school district got 22.5 million in that new revenue from the EDC. Then we calculated, what, our property tax rate for the city and the school district would have to be if those projects didn’t exist. Those numbers were shocking and it got rid of the whole idea that, “Maybe we shouldn’t go with the EDC. We don’t need them anymore.”

Buda EDC Resources:

If you have any questions or need any help modelling your projects, please reach out to your Impact DataSource team!

Paul Scheuren, (512) 524-0892, [email protected]

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