When it comes to the biggest corporate welfare deals, Connecticut is holding its own among states — for better or worse — with six incentive packages worth $75 million or more over the last two decades.
Pound for pound, under Democrats as well as Republicans and a third party, Connecticut is right up there with Michigan (29 deals) and New York (23 deals, a record $11 billion). The state-by-state listing is part of a report (PDF) from the advocacy group Good Jobs First, titled “Megadeals.”
The Washington, D.C.-based group argues that the deals are rarely if ever worth their cost, and that the average total cost per job in these giant packages is $456,000. That’s a huge number considering that typical, smaller corporate incentives run in the range of $40,000 per job.
Connecticut’s biggest deals were $150 million in 1994 to Swiss Bank, now UBS, in Stamford, under former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.; and $115 million last year for Bridgewater Associates, the giant hedge fund, to move its headquarters. The Swiss Bank deal is generally viewed favorably, as it sparked a new wave of financial services gains in Stamford, leading to such other deals as $100 million for Royal Bank of Scotland, in 2005, under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell. It’s been costly but worth the huge investment.
The Bridgewater deal, under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, is a head-scratcher, since the head of Bridgewater alone made somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion in the prior year. That’s personal income, folks.
But could Malloy risk Bridgewater moving to another state? Nope. That’s the problem with these megadeals, and with corporate welfare in general. These companies have taxpayers over a barrel. We never know whether the moves they don’t make, and the jobs they add, would have happened if we didn’t offer greenmail.
And so we pay up. The Good Jobs First Report is the best scorecard I’ve seen, from the group that has been bird-dogging this issue from the start.