News Column

Connecticut Corporate Subsidies Don't Make Top 25

February 26, 2014

By Mara Lee, The Hartford Courant



Feb. 26--Good Jobs First, a non-profit organization critical of economic development deals subsidized by tax dollars, on Tuesday released a Top 100 list of corporations that have gotten subsidies from state and local governments.

None of Connecticut's deals was big enough to crack the top 25.

The companies were ranked by cumulative totals of awards over the decades. The first economic development incentive in the database is from 1976, but most of the awards are from the past 20 years.

Most companies get subsidies from several states. For instance, Walt Disney, parent company to ESPN, receives tax benefits, grants and low-interest loans from California, Connecticut and others, to a cumulative total of $381.5 million. Of all corporations getting subsidies, Walt Disney ranks 46th. Connecticut's share of Disney's incentives was $146.5 million.

Boeing received the most support from local governments, with $13.2 billion in subsidies.

Jackson Laboratory was 64th on the list, purely from Connecticut's$291 million loan.

UBS, the Swiss banking giant, was 79th, with grants, tax credits and loans totaling $247.6 million -- Connecticut taxpayers paid $170 million of that.

But other big players in Connecticut received much more from other states where they have facilities. For instance, General Dynamics, the parent company of Electric Boat, has received $262.5 million in incentives over the years, putting it at 73rd. But only $24.9 million came from Connecticut. Maine has given the defense contractor $195 million, the report said. General Dynamics bought Bath Iron Works in Maine in 1995 for $300 million.

Good Jobs First, in explaining its interest in publicizing these deals, writes: "Many people call subsidies 'incentives,' but that's not really accurate. An incentive motivates someone to do something they would not have done otherwise. A mountain of evidence suggests that development subsidies are often abused by companies that would have done exactly what they did anyway."

The database, as huge as it is, is not comprehensive. For instance, Pfizer, which Good Jobs First reports as having received $210.1 million over the decades, does not have any Connecticut subsidies listed. But the Courant tallied $60 million in state support to the company from the early 1990s to 2011.

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Source: Hartford Courant (CT)


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