Subsidy Sheet: Subsidy Sucker Magazine with advice on influencing reporters biased against corporate giveaways


In Q2 of 2022, Area Development Magazine published a how-to for companies seeking to neutralize criticism of their taxpayer handouts titled, “Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Presentation of Incentives Information to the Media.” The article claims: “Sometimes…media members make mistakes – whether because of tight deadlines, the complexity of transactions, or bias. These stories may even contribute to projects being withdrawn.” (If only!) 

It continues: “Some reporters and publications are generally opposed to economic development incentives and may use pejorative language to describe those incentives…A good example is incorrectly referring to an incentive as a ‘tax giveaway.’” (Right, the reporter should have written “corporate handout,” “rip-off,” or “waste of taxpayer funds.”)

Bizarrely, Area Development argues that telling the truth is the best way to get journalists to support the latest boondoggle, something subsidy seekers and economic development officials are generally incapable of. Here are the facts: Corporate giveaways have little effect on the number of business establishments, job growth, firm location decisions, and overall economic growth. Instead, corporate giveaways have the opposite effect, contributing to inequality and poor fiscal health.

New York Corporate Giveaway News:

  • The WSJ wrote about the Tesla solar factory boondogglewhich State Senator Sean Ryan rightfully called “a bad deal.” 
  • Environmental groups wrote a letter urging the Lockport IDA to not give tax abatements to a company that manufactures plastic. The company has indicated it will search for subsidies in other municipalities and states if the IDA refuses to grant the abatements. 
  • The Erie County IDA granted more than $1.37 in tax breaks to two projects: one for a pasta production line and one for a company that manufactures natural gas equipment. 
  • Will an infusion of subsidies for a new Micron chip fab help Syracuse reduce dire child poverty? MIT Technology Review digs in on what’s ahead for Micron’s development in Clay, which is 15 miles north of Syracuse.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Elizabeth Marcello and edited by John Kaehny.