Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest economic development “triumph” is a deal to bring a high-tech chipmaker into the 450-acre Marcy Nanocenter outside Utica, where Cree Inc. will build a $1 billion plant with 600 skilled jobs at an average $75,000 salary.
Sounds great — until you learn the state is handing Cree $500 million to help build the plant, or about $833,000 per job, plus (according to the company) other “equipment and tooling.”
To be fair, Cuomo’s making Cree pay for that grant: The state insisted plant construction operate under “prevailing wage” rules, which essentially make it a union project.
Those rules add around 15% to costs, so the gov is basically bribing Cree to pass some of the money to union workers and, via dues, to the unions themselves. (As the Empire Center’s Ken Girardin notes, they need the cash to shore up ailing pension funds.)
Notably, another chip manufacturer, AMS AG of Austria, backed out of a lease on the very same lot back in 2016, abandoning $600 million in state funding.
Still not as bad as Soraa: The state built that LED company a $90 million factory in Syracuse — then Soraa walked away. The state had to offer the next tenant $15 million to retool the site.
All this investment is supposed to be boosting the upstate economy, which nonetheless continues to wither. But it lets the gov claim he’s on the job.
Any time Andrew Cuomo cuts a ribbon, check your wallet: You’ll find it a lot lighter.