The New York Times counted up how much money states give to companies ranging from GE to freshdirect to Sears. Report Louise Story found that many states, cities and counties don’t keep track of these awards that include everything from corporate tax breaks, cash grants, property tax abatements and “free services.”
The Times studied more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of this spending.
The total was $80 billion each year, with questionable ROI:
The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.
You can search the data by company and by state. You can also see which states give the most incentives and what they are.
We were curious about how much money healthcare companies have benefited from these grants. Here are a few examples from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. The numbers reflect grants made from 2007 to 2011.
Abbott Laboratories – Awarded at least $14.7 million from 21 grants in 9 states, including $9.55 million from Ohio (corporate tax break) and $2.67 million from California (free services)
Boston Scientific - Awarded at least $1.94 million from 8 grants in 5 states, including $510,570 from Minnesota and $450,000 from Florida, both in the form of corporate tax breaks.
Cleveland Clinic Foundation – Awarded at least $16.2 million from 10 grants in Ohio, all in the form of cash grants, loans or loan guarantees.
Eli Lilly And Company – Awarded at least $1.4 million from 3 grants in 2 states, including $1.13 million from Pennsylvania and $273,782 from Missouri, both in the form of corporate tax breaks
General Electric – Awarded at least $381 million ($344 million since 2007) from 132 grants in 21 states. including $120 million from Ohio and $78.2 million from Michigan, both corporate income tax breaks.
Johnson & Johnson – Awarded at least $1.12 million from 9 grants in 3 states, including $660,000 from Pennsylvania (cash grant, loan, or loan guarantee) and $464,396 from New York (property tax abatement).
Merck & Co., Inc. – Awarded at least $60.7 million from 18 grants in 5 states, including $41.3 million from North Carolina and $12.5 million from New Jersey, both in the form of cash grants, loan or loan guarantees.
Medtronic Inc. – Awarded at least $47.6 million from 26 grants in 9 states, including $37.7 million from Minnesota, and $6 million from Texas.
Pfizer – Awarded at least $92.9 million from 44 grants in 9 states, including $39.1 million in from New Jersey (cash grant, loan or loan guarantee) and $34.4 million from New York (property tax abatement).
Procter & Gamble – Awarded at least $153 million ($128 million since 2007) from 31 grants in 10 states. including $85.1 million in Utah and $18.9 million in Ohio, both corporate income tax breaks.
Listen to an interview with the New York Times reporter who did the research. Louise Story was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for her reporting on the financial crisis of 2008.