Sen. Greg Ball is questioning the economic development deal announced last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which will help a consortium of tech companies research chip manufacturing on 450-millimeter wafers.
Five companies will be involved in that effort: Intel, IBM, GlobalFoundries, TSMC and Samsung. Additionally, IBM will invest $3.6 billion in developing more powerful computer chips. The state is investing $400 million through the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at UAlbany — no companies will get a direct subsidy, though all will benefit from the use of state-purchased equipment and facilities.
Ball, a Republican from Brewster in Putnam County whose district includes IBM’s headquarters, said he has questions about the deal.
As an Assemblyman, Greg Ball fought to launch an investigation into IBM’s offshore practices after they received a windfall totaling nearly $100 million from New York. In December of 2008, IBM accepted $45 million from the Empire State Development Corporation in return for not cutting jobs at its East Fishkill facility. Just two weeks later, according to reports, the company laid off 278 workers. Shortly after, Ball authored legislation to end tax incentives for companies that offshore jobs.
“Let me explain this in simple terms. IBM has already received hundreds of millions of dollars from New York taxpayers. Not even a few years back, we found out IBM was cashing checks from taxpayers while simultaneously patenting a new technology specifically designed to outsource our jobs in America. Now, as small businesses everywhere are shutting their doors, we are going to reward these global giants with an even larger giveaway of corporate welfare, without asking the tough questions?”
In 2009, IBM refused to respond to a Wall Street Journal report stating the company was shifting 5,000 American jobs to India. To this day, the company remains mum about how many jobs it has outsourced over the past two years.
Ball’s war against corporate welfare to powerful multi-national corporations has been a continuous uphill fight because of powerful corporate interests in both parties. Ball first went public with the IBM issue after constituents alerted him to the severity of layoffs made by the company, including cases in which employees were refused severance and health care packages, despite being promised by the company that these benefits would be given even if layoffs were made. Ball organized and attended several rallies and press conferences outside IBM facilities to bring light to these financial dealings and the terms of the layoffs.
“It is the new and small businesses, those creating over 70% of the jobs, that we must help if we truly want to turn this economy around. This $400 million could have been divided into 1,600 or more small business loans, spreading opportunity to new businesses and entrepreneurs statewide. In fact, a portion could have immediately went to fix bridges, roads and crumbling infrastructure, putting thousands of New Yorkers back to work, now that would have helped Main Street!” (ARTICLE)