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Thursday, September 29, 2011

$100 million Incentive Packages: US 13, EU 5. Have I Missed Any?

I am reworking my list of the top 25 subsidy packages in the U.S. for a new article I'm working on. In my book, Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital, I used the top 25 projects from 1999 to early 2008. For the article, the table will cover 2001 to the present. In addition, I am interested in uncovering all incentive packages of $100 million or more since early 2008. In the European Union, there are only five $100+ million incentive packages in the last three years. (Source: European Commission, search for cases with decision date after 1/1/2008 and Primary Objective of Regional Development.)

In the United States, by contrast, state and local governments have given at least 13 packages with a nominal subsidy value of $100 million or more since early 2008. (As with the book, I will be calculating their present value, because that is what the European Union does; this allows for better comparability of subsidies and, besides, present value is the more meaningful figure.) Before I send this article off, I want to make sure I haven't missed any, which is why I am asking for your help. Please let me know if there are any projects I've missed. I will, naturally, acknowledge you in the article.

First, here is a corrected version of the table that appeared in the book. In the course of writing a report, not yet published, for the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, I discovered that our estimate of Google's subsidy in North Carolina was too low. It is corrected here.

Company Year City State Present Value

Boeing 2003 Everett WA $1,984,400,000
Advanced Micro Devices 2006 Malta NY $1,118,000,000
ThyssenKrupp 2007 Mount Vernon AL $734,304,000
Scripps Research Institute 2003 Palm Beach County FL $566,500,000
IBM 2000 East Fishkill NY $533,083,333
Volkswagen 2008 Chattanooga TN $450,139,048
Kia 2006 West Point GA $353,083,333
Toyota 2006 Blue Springs MS $291,634,000
Nissan 2000 Canton MS $289,666,667
Sematech 2007 Albany NY $269,444,444
Hyundai 2002 Montgomery AL $233,936,363
Ford 2006 Detroit MI $219,780,000
Toyota 2003 San Antonio TX $218,100,000
International Sematech 2002 Albany NY $175,636,364
Dell 2004 Winston-Salem NC $174,230,401
Goodyear 2004 Akron OH $173,099,088
Samsung Austin Semiconductor 2006 Austin TX $171,244,444
Eli Lilly 1999 Indianapolis IN $150,916,667
Marathon Oil 2007 Detroit MI $148,800,000
Honda 1999 Lincoln AL $144,221,818
Google 2007 Lenoir NC $140,592,593
General Motors 2000 Lansing MI $138,844,542
Alenia/Vought 2004 Charleston SC $133,133,333
Dell 1999 Nashville TN $132,373,334
Hemlock Semiconductor 2007 Hemlock MI $124,226,666

Source: Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital and author's calculations

While researching this new article, it occurred to me that Kansas City, MO, has given several tax increment financing (TIF) subsidies that exceed the lowest value in this table. In fact, four Kansas City TIFs should have appeared in the table: KC Live, H&R Block, Pershing Road, and Three Trails (source). KC Live, the smallest of these, had a nominal subsidy of $167.9 million. To the best of my knowledge, the EU does not approve subsidies for retail, and I know for a fact that it does not approve them in the steel industry (ThyssenKrupp in the table above, Nucor in the table below).

The following list was begun by identifying the "top projects of the year" for 2008-10 according to Site Selection magazine. Pursuing news stories to determine the incentive package details led to the discovery of several other projects of at least $100 million in nominal subsidy value.

Company          State           Minimum nominal incentive package

AREVA             ID              $276.6 million present value
Nucor                LA             $373 million
Hemlock            MI             $358.4 million
Spirit Aero         NC            $250.9 million
Cerner/OnGoal  KS             $230 million
Hemlock            TN            $200 million
Electrolux          TN             $188.3 million present value
Ford                  KY            $180 million
Boeing              SC              $900 million
Apple                NC            $320.7 million
Xtreme             MI              $100 million
Schott               NM            $130 million
Panasonic         NJ              $102 million

Thus, in the last three years, there have been at least 13 deals for $100 million or more in the U.S. (though the last three may fall below $100 million in present value) compared to just five in the European Union. The deals in the U.S. are larger, too: the largest deal in the EU is for Global Foundries (formerly Advanced Micro Devices) in Dresden, Germany, where EU state aid rules allowed it to receive 211.0 million euros, about $284.9 million. Not only is this dwarfed by what South Carolina gave Boeing, Global Foundries is asking New York State for $1 billion for a new wafer fabrication plant there. As I will argue in the article, new evidence continues to demonstrate that the EU is  successful in reducing the investment incentives granted to mobile investors there, compared to what they get for similar projects in the U.S.

Again, these results are preliminary, but striking. Because of the EU's centralized register of cases, it is more likely that I may have missed 9-figure subsidies in the U.S. than in the EU. Of course, please let me know if I've missed any in either place. Thanks!


  1. What about the NC/Facebook deal?

  2. Sandy, thanks for the lead. I will see what I can track down on the Nexis news service.

  3. What I've found so far is this, from a News & Observer article 2/20/11: "In the end, Facebook did not get any state grants, though it did receive $11.4 million in local government incentives. Facebook is also expected to qualify for an exemption from state taxes on electricity and business property." North Carolina's 2010 Economic Development Inventory puts the statewide estimated cost of this tax break at $5.5 million for fiscal year 2009-10. So it looks unlikely that Facebook topped $100 million.

  4. Meadowbrook Li-ion Battery Production Facility, Holland, Mich. – This new facility will be the first in the U.S. to produce complete lithium-ion battery cells and systems for hybrid and electric vehicles, producing battery systems for U.S. based automakers, such as Ford's Transit Connect. The facility was supported in part by a $299.2 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) matching grant and more than $168 million in incentives from the state of Michigan. Johnson Controls invested $299.2 million to match the ARRA grant and more. Employment at this facility will be 320 at full capacity. Johnson Controls has committed to building a second facility in U.S. Once a location is identified and the facility constructed, it would add nearly 300 additional jobs when at full capacity.

  5. LG Chem to build $303 million lithium battery plant in Holland for Chevrolet Volts
    Published: Friday, March 12, 2010

    Half the $303 million cost to build the battery plant is being funded with a $151 million grant, one of four the U.S. Department of Energy is giving to spur battery development.
    The state is also throwing in a $100 million tax credit, $25 million job creation tax credit and a Renaissance Zone designation that eliminates the company's state and local tax bill for 12 years.

  6. Dean, thanks very much. These are both huge; in fact, I learned that Michigan handed out six $100 million tax credits for batteries in total.