The data was contained in a New York Times database. The Times is in the midst of an awesome investigation into local and state subsidies for corporations. Guess what? These incentives, including grants, loans and property tax breaks, often provide dubious benefits.
The Times tallied $80 billion in giveaways every year to companies and believes the true total is far higher:
A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.
Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.
While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.
Despite their scale, state and local incentives have barely been part of the national debate on the economic crisis.
These subsidies are coming as local and state governments cut services and jobs and increase property taxes and fees.
I plugged in “Rochester” into the Times database. A sampling of companies getting breaks:
- General Motors (Recently pulled out of Honeoye Falls, taking 300 jobs.)
- PAETEC (Perinton telecom got $7.36 million in corporate income tax credits, rebates or reductions. PAETEC was sold to Windstream for $2.3 billion.)
- Sibley Building (Rochester taxpayers took a $19 million haircut on that one.)
- Gannett (The Democrat and Chronicle has repeatedly furloughed and laid off workers.)