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Projects editor

Susan Arbetter used to work for WAMC, the public radio station out of Albany, but is now the news director for WCNY, the public radio station out of Syracuse and hosts a syndicated show, The Capitol Pressroom. Back in the day when she was at WAMC, I thought I could sometimes detect in her voice a note of impatience with the station's director or president or whatever-his-bigwig-title-is Alan Chartock. But maybe I was projecting. 

Anyway, she left, for whatever reason. I follow her on Twitter and she today posted a link to an outstanding website, called "Good Jobs First: Subsidy Tracker," a detailed exploration of government subsidies to businesses, broken down in many ways, including by state.

Guess which state awards by far the biggest bunch of government subsidies? Yes, New York. Going back about 10 years, New York has awarded more than 124,000 subsidies to businesses, worth more than $33 billion. The next state on the list, Louisiana, is more than $10 billion behind our pace. Slackers!

Look at the list of subsidy recipients in New York, and you see that the top two are in our area of upstate New York. Alcoa (Massena) is No. 1, with $5.6 billion in subsidies. Mubadala Technology, parent company of GlobalFoundries in Malta, out of sunny Abu Dhabi, is No. 2, with more than $1.8 billion. 

Noteworthy also is Pyramid Companies, at No. 4 with more than $867 million in subsidies.

What happens in a state like New York that offers a lot of expensive services to its residents when it gives enormous and huge subsidies to businesses in the form of tax breaks and cash?

Residents have to pay more.

When the corporate tax burden is made lighter, the citizens' tax burden is made heavier. 

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Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at



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