Brewster, N.Y. – (3/1/12) – In the wake of the news that IBM is laying off more than 1,000 jobs nationwide— 200 here in the Hudson Valley— Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) is calling for swift passage of his legislation that would end tax incentives for companies that offshore jobs. Senator Ball will also renew calls for the state to get a guarantee from IBM that they will keep jobs in New York, and be transparent in their reporting practices.
“A few months back I stood alone, warning of my fears of relying upon promises from IBM, a global outsourcing giant, without getting those guarantees in writing. These new reports are deeply troubling and once again show why my demands that NY state demand specifics from IBM were legitimate. We must hold IBM accountable for any direct or indirect benefits they receive from NY taxpayers. They have already received hundreds of millions of dollars from New York State taxpayers. And, we know IBM has a history of cashing checks from taxpayers while simultaneously patenting a new technology specifically designed to outsource our jobs in America,” Senator Ball said. “Back in October, I warned our leaders that we should not reward these global giants with an even larger giveaway of corporate welfare. But, IBM was handed another $400 million. That money 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. Instead, we have once again made a deal, evidently without written guarantees, with a global outsourcing giant and the taxpayers are now left holding the bag as employees get pink slips. I don’t care if I have to continue to be the sole voice on this, this is unacceptable.”
Going forward, Senator Ball’s legislation would guarantee that when New York state taxpayer dollars go to companies for economic development, the companies must:
- Stop shipping NY jobs overseas.
- Create permanent jobs in New York.
- Physically locate all NY jobs in NY instead of overseas or out-of-state telecommuting jobs.
- Provide full transparency in their reporting about their worldwide employee population.
- Not mixing NY state taxpayer dollars with private sector dollars to create overseas jobs.
- Disclose all attendees at the bargaining table when deals are negotiated.
Somers resident V. Gordon Sears was dismissed from IBM in 2009 after 40 years of employment. In this round of layoffs, he said he is watching friends lose their jobs. Sear said he fully supports Senator Ball’s legislation.
“They are getting benefits for moving jobs out of the county. Why?” Sears said. “That’s why unemployment is so high. No longer are American companies, American companies.”
Bills Costine is a local council member for the Alliance@IBM, a workers group that tracks moves that IBM does not publicly announce or confirm. Costine joined Senator Ball to show support for this legislation, which he said is long overdue.
“IBM is constantly receiving tax breaks and tax incentives and we would very much like to see open disclosure of where this money is going to and that it is actually contributing to jobs here,” Costine said. “As you know, IBM does not disclose its overall employee numbers anymore. So, without that information, there is no way of knowing where the taxpayer dollars are going.
Tom Midgley, President of the Alliance@IBM, thanked Senator Ball for this legislation.
“This week IBM quietly fired at least 1000 of its employees in the United States, with an estimated 200 of them in the Hudson Valley. We say “estimated” because IBM refuses to tell the public the exact number. The Alliance has done our best to inform IBM workers and the public about these job cuts because IBM receives public money to create jobs. They’re creating jobs alright– in other countries and other states. We need to stop rewarding companies that destroy jobs here so they can move them elsewhere. This hurts workers and their families, and harms our economy while we recover from a near collapse,” Midgley said. “The Alliance@IBM welcomes Senator Ball’s proposal to finally make IBM and other companies accountable for the tax dollars they receive. We need real enforcement to ensure jobs are actually being created, so that companies and our communities benefit. We encourage our elected officials and the public to support Senator Ball’s efforts.”
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Brittany Serra (845) 200-9716.