New York May Pay IBM To Not Fire Workers - InformationWeek

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Commentary
7/8/2008
01:42 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
Commentary
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New York May Pay IBM To Not Fire Workers

IBM, which made more than $10 billion in profits last year, reportedly wants state aid from the Paterson administration in exchange for expanding its facilities in upstate New York and a no-layoff pledge.

IBM, which made more than $10 billion in profits last year, reportedly wants state aid from the Paterson administration in exchange for expanding its facilities in upstate New York and a no-layoff pledge.The Albany Times Union and Poughkeepsie Journal have both reported that the Paterson government is mulling tens of millions of dollars in grants to help IBM expand its East Fishkill chip plant and develop a new generation of microprocessors there.

In return, Paterson wants IBM to promise it won't lay off workers in New York state, according to the Times Union.

Now, IBM is a for-profit, publicly held corporation whose job is to make as much money as it can for its shareholders. So you can't blame company executives for trying to get what they can get out of Albany.

But why is Paterson, who presides over a state that is beyond broke, willing to give away taxpayer dollars (including some of mine), just to keep Big Blue around?

If IBM doesn't see the value in expanding operations in one of the country's most important states, one that is home to the world's financial center and top engineering schools like RPI, without having to be bribed to do so, then something is clearly wrong.

Could it be that New York's tax rates are among the highest in the free world? Could it be that the state's sclerotic and corrupt bureaucracy now weighs so heavily on private development that it's almost impossible to get anything done here? (Witness the giant hole in lower Manhattan, still empty eight years after 9-11.)

Shouldn't Gov. David Paterson and the Albany Legislature be spending less time negotiating one-off, corporate welfare deals and more time cleaning up this mess in order to make New York competitive to the point where multinationals will line up to do business here and employ local workers -- without having their hands out?

Just some questions from a taxpayer.

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