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States that give the most corporate subsidies

  • States that give the most corporate subsidies

    The scramble to secure Amazon's second North American headquarters is an example of the problem with subsidizing corporations. With the deal ultimately split between Arlington, Va., and Queens, N.Y., there was public outcry about the cost of winning. For New York, the complaints were so loud that Amazon ultimately pulled out.

    Corporate subsidies include offering tax breaks, cash grants, or refunds in tax revenues in exchange for an investment in a community from a corporation. Those who support the concept argue that corporate subsidies can create jobs and infrastructure investments for communities that don't have the capability to provide them. The partnerships could, theoretically, jumpstart depressed communities and lay the infrastructure needed for future job growth.

    Those who oppose corporate subsidies argue they are a form of wealth isolation and socialism. Equating the subsidies to buying jobs, some argue that they are the result of wealthy companies and individuals lobbying to keep government funds out of programs that could support the needy or build infrastructure.

    Nevertheless, corporate subsidies play a major part in U.S. politics. Stacker looked at data provided by Good Jobs First, an independent advocacy group, to determine which states have paid the most in corporate subsidies. Good Jobs First sourced its data from government agency websites and from Freedom of Information Act requests to the various states.

    The data provided are from 2014 to 2018 and ties were broken based on that information. Good Jobs First only reported disclosed subsidy data, which may or may not reflect the actual subsidies in the state. Because of different open-disclosure rules among the states, the reported numbers may not be accurate, but are accurate according to the data sources publicly available. Wyoming subsidy data were not available after 2013 and therefore not included in this report.

    Read on to learn what states do to encourage companies to do business with them.

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  • #50. North Dakota

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $0 million
    - Number of subsidies: 45
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 0%

    North Dakota is not known for its corporations, with its largest one, Union Holdings, having only 9,100 employees. Thus, it isn't shocking that North Dakota has the lowest corporate subsidies rate. With farming and oil extraction two of the state's top industries, the state rates high in farm and oil subsidies.

  • #49. Nebraska

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $0 million
    - Number of subsidies: 189
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 0%

    It is misleading to think that Nebraska is a subsidy-free state, based on publicly disclosed numbers: It's not. With Nebraska passing its corporate incentive package in the 1980s to keep ConAgra Foods, the state has one of the most extensive automatic subsidies package in the nation, with $295 million given in credits and refunds in 2017. Fun fact: ConAgra would eventually leave Nebraska after collecting more than $160 billion in corporate subsidy payments.

  • #48. Hawaii

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $0 million
    - Number of subsidies: 287
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 0%

    With food, material, transportation, and labor costs significantly higher in Hawaii than in the contiguous 48 states, it would make sense that Hawaii corporations receive tax carveouts to remain competitive. However, firms specializing in technology research and development are the only firms that gets this type of assistance, with most other industries paying higher taxes than the national average, according to the Hawai'i Free Press, an advocacy independent newspaper.

  • #47. Minnesota

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $0.2 million
    - Number of subsidies: 4
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 100%
    - Largest single subsidy: Motek-Team Industries ($187,000)

    Most of Minnesota's largest corporations (3M, Best Buy, Target, U.S. Bank) are service- or technology-based, largely exempting the state from manufacturing incentives. This may change under Minnesota's new governor, who is seeking to expand technology sector corporate incentives, according to Tech.MN. The nonprofit online newspaper MINNPost reported that all states but South Dakota pay more in corporate subsidies per capita than Minnesota.

  • #46. South Dakota

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $0.4 million
    - Number of subsidies: 82
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 90%
    - Largest single subsidy: Dakota State University ($32,000)

    Like many northern Midwest states, South Dakota firms receive more in farming subsidies than corporate subsidies. Though money has been used indirectly to support private companies. In one case, a large grant to the state's transportation department was almost exclusively used for roads supporting a new ethanol plant.

  • #45. West Virginia

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $0.9 million
    - Number of subsidies: 105
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 39%
    - Largest single subsidy: Gestamp WV ($232,541)

    West Virginia is a state that heavily depends on federal aid. The push by the Trump administration to subsidize the coal industry reflects the debate between providing support to an industry that has changed over offering retraining and educational support to affected workers. It also is an example of how corporate subsidies tend to be political in nature. However, West Virginia's low ranking reflects the state's weak gross domestic product.

  • #44. New Hampshire

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $3.6 million
    - Number of subsidies: 227
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 100%
    - Largest single subsidy: NH Auto Dealers Association ($69,970)

    New Hampshire is historically unfriendly to corporate subsidies. As it doesn't have a state sales or income tax, New Hampshire typically feels that corporations do not need additional incentives to locate there. However, the state does offer private corporation support via government partnerships and municipal incentives.

  • #43. Vermont

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $6 million
    - Number of subsidies: 53
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 72%
    - Largest single subsidy: Cabot Hosiery Mills ($1.5 million)

    Because Vermont is small, it simply does not spend as much as its neighbors New York and Massachusetts on corporate subsidies. However, recent news that Vermont would pay $10,000 for remote workers to move to the state shows it is willing to pay money to help expand the state's tax base.

  • #42. Idaho

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $11.2 million
    - Number of subsidies: 27
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 100%
    - Largest single subsidy: McCain Foods ($2.5 million)

    Predominately a farming and mining state, Idaho has one of the best costs of doing business in the country. With a top corporate tax rate that matches the top individual tax rate, Idaho has a slate of tax subsidies that is proving to be counterproductive because of the state's limited number of skilled workers.

  • #41. Montana

    - Total disclosed subsidy value: $12.5 million
    - Number of subsidies: 464
    - Subsidies with disclosed values: 100%
    - Largest single subsidy: Blue Marble Biomaterials ($670,272)

    Montana's corporate subsidies are largely for farming. But the state also offers a large array of corporate incentives. These tax programs, as of 2015, make up the lion's share of Montana's involvement in business development.