As for how the taxpayers end up footing the bill, in many cases loans given out by county and municipal governments come from allocations from the federal government that are funneled through the state and eventually to the local government. To the local government, it's free money, having no effect on the local tax rates. To the state, it's just a pass through. To the federal government, it's generally an opportunity for U.S. Representatives and Senators to take credit for a program that benefits businesses in their districts, even as such spending ends up being of little or no value to those local businesses.