Did you hear the good news? Charter Communications, Inc. is opening an headquarters in Henrietta and creating more than 220 jobs! The company, which just purchased Time Warner cable, will invest $2.9 million in the move.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Rochester to make the announcement.
Here’s what was not said.
The state is giving Charter up to $2,5 million in Excelsior Jobs tax credits, meaning the company isn’t investing much at all.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found the Excelsior Jobs program is riddled with problems. Companies collected money without creating the promised jobs. Among them was Xerox, which also got a call center on the taxpayer dime.
Some of these new jobs will be at Charter’s call center. While these jobs are important to individuals, they are bad economic development policy. Call centers notoriously have high turnover and low pay.
The headquarters will be in the Calkins Road area of Henrietta. The first bus doesn’t arrive until around 9 a.m. and the last one leaves before 6 p.m. This means workers will likely have to drive. Transportation is a huge barrier to employment for many people. If we are serious about reducing poverty, we should withhold incentives from firms that do not locate jobs near people or on high service bus lines.
Charter Communications is now the second largest cable provider in the United States. It earned several billion dollars in profits last year. It earns BILLIONS of dollars and wants our help building out an office in Henrietta?
Instead of us helping Charter, the governor should be asking Charter to help us. Hey Charter, will you provide fiber internet, a la carte cable packages and lower charges for equipment rentals?
We need the jobs, especially after Verizon’s announcement is will shut down its Henrietta call center, killing 600 positions. (That’s what’s wrong with the call center economy. There’s no permanency.) But instead of making the business climate better for everyone, the state bribes a select few. The end result is one of the slowest growing economies in the nation. This kind of corporate welfare is not working and it’s not reaching the area’s neediest citizens.
Meanwhile, our cable bills are remain high.