Five Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


Every week, Reinvent Albany reads a ton of great writing on corporate welfare. Unfortunately, we are rarely able to give that writing the love it deserves – it gets lumped together in bullet points at the end of our weekly newsletter, almost like an afterthought.

We want to spotlight all the fine journalism out there explaining how business subsidies work and how they’re failing everyday people. So from now on, every Friday, we’re going to send you five of the best stories on subsidies we’ve been reading.

If there are any stories you find that merit inclusion, feel free to send them to Tom Speaker at tom [at] Note that this is not a ranking – stories are ordered from New York to not-New-York.

Thanks for reading, and please share some of these great stories with your networks!

Five Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

1. Genesee County’s Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) costs are spiraling, according to the Investigative Post. Mark Scheer’s fantastic reporting includes a 3-minute video detailing STAMP’s costs.

The project’s location rated so poorly that it failed to meet seven of ten smart growth criteria under the state’s own grading system, prompting one good government group to label it a “poster child for location inefficiency.”

2. Tesla has received an extension from ESD to meet employment targets (Buffalo News).

The extension, granted by state development officials, will give Tesla more time to meet its promise to bring 1,460 workers to its sprawling factory in South Buffalo […] If Tesla doesn’t hit that job target, the state, which spent more than $950 million to build and equip the plant, must decide whether to impose a $41.3 million penalty.

3. New York has spent billions over the past 15 years subsidizing horse racing (Defector).

Over the last 15 years, [New York and Pennsylvania have] distributed around $6 billion [in horse racing subsidies]. Both states also forgo countless millions each year in sales taxes they don’t charge on racehorse purchases, an exemption that doesn’t apply to other kinds of horses.

4. At Boondoggle, Pat Garofalo writes about why Apple coming to North Carolina is a bad deal for the state. This is some of Pat’s best writing – a great breakdown of just how bad subsidy deals get.

In return for creating 3,000 jobs, Apple will receive $845.8 million in payouts over 39 years from the state, plus a 50 percent reduction in its property tax bill over 30 years from Wake County.

5. A clause added to the American Rescue Plan Act appears to impose a truce on state subsidy wars (Real Clear Politics).

State and local governments already spend an estimated $95 billion on economic development subsidies every year — enough to fund the 11 smallest state budgets, combined. Alternatively, it’s enough to fund all federal food assistance programs, with enough left to build two nuclear aircraft carriers, every single year.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker, Policy Analyst at Reinvent Albany. Please send questions and tips to tom [at] We look forward to hearing from you!