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Washington and Lee senior to publish article in “Business Horizons”

Al Organ ’15, an accounting and business administration major and philosophy minor, will publish an article in the journal “Business Horizons” this summer. Organ worked with Raquel Alexander, associate professor of accounting and newly appointed associate dean of the Williams School, on an independent study that looked at tax incentives for businesses. The pair used Tesla Motors’ recent deal in Nevada as a case study.

To lure new companies, states put together generous incentive packages that include substantial tax breaks. The assumption is that the jobs the company creates and the money the company invests in infrastructure will outweigh what the state forfeits in tax revenue. Tesla’s deal with Nevada was an incentive package worth about $1.3 billion. Forecasters predicted that Tesla would create 6,500 new jobs and increase Nevada’s economic output by $100 billion over the next 20 years.

After researching the emergence and growth of tax incentive packages such as Tesla’s, Organ and Alexander found that state governments rarely review their tax incentive programs to confirm that the deals are actually stimulating economic growth for their states. In fact, only a few states have laws that require regular reviews of the deals they make with businesses.

“Working on this independent study was a great experience for me because it opened me up to the other side of academia. I have learned a lot from my coursework at W&L, but it was a great experience to research things outside of the classroom that still applied to my field of study,” Organ said.

In the article, Organ and Alexander give advice to business leaders who want to maximize incentive deals. They urge them to be realistic about the economic stimulus they can confidently promise states.

“One of the great things about teaching at W&L is the ability to mentor undergraduate research,” said Alexander. “Al is an excellent researcher and I was pleased that his efforts led to a publication in a leading business academic journal.”

A varsity soccer player and member of the Contact Committee and Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Organ will work for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, NC as an analyst after graduation.