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Biggest corporate subsidies of the last 20 years

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sezer66 // Shutterstock

Biggest corporate subsidies of the last 20 years

Nearly every country has systems in place to economically support its citizens. Countries like Sweden and the United Kingdom have universal health care; the United States offers unemployment and social welfare benefits. In these cases, a nation's tax dollars go towards citizens in need. But what if that citizen in need is a corporation?

A corporate subsidy takes place when a government agency offers cash grants, tax breaks, or other financial incentives to businesses. Those in favor might argue that the benefits—job creation, industry growth, financial investment in a community—are worth the price. Those who oppose corporate subsidies may refer to them as corporate welfare, a term meant to highlight the fact that corporations receive more government handouts than poor individuals, and might say that it's ineffective to give tax dollars (which could be going to schools, for example) to corporations with huge revenue streams. But regardless of where you may fall on this spectrum, it's a simple fact that corporate subsidies happen often enough to render them a key player in American economics—in fact, as of 2014, Fortune 500 companies alone had received about $60 billion in tax breaks.

Stacker scoured data from Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center that promotes corporate accountability, in order to find the biggest corporate subsidies of that last 20 years. Together, these deals total approximately $73 billion dollars, with just three states accounting for nearly half of all the subsidies included: Louisiana ranks at the top with 11, then Michigan with seven, and finally New York, with five subsidies in two decades. This data is current as of 2019, though it's worth noting that some states did not provide data for each of the past 20 years, and some subsidies have undisclosed values. The subsidies are ranked in reverse order of their dollar value, and in the case of ties, the more recent subsidy is ranked higher.

Without further adieu, read on to discover which corporations are most likely to cash a government check.

You may also like: States that give the most corporate subsidies

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roy.luck // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Louisiana: Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC

- Subsidy value: $516.3 million
- Year awarded: 2017
- Funding source: local
- Industry: oil & gas

The Sabine Pass LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal, an $18 billion project from parent company Cheniere Energy, has existed for several years, but just completed two substantial aspects of the site in 2017. In the same year, $516.3 million, from local sources, went towards property tax abatements for the company. The Sabine Project has had a major impact on the U.S.'s role in the oil and gas industry as a whole: U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas skyrocketed in 2018, a turn which is in large part due to the Sabine Pass' ability to export 2.8 billion cubic feet of LNG a day.

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory // Wikimedia Commons

#49. United States: General Atomics

- Subsidy value: $533.6 million
- Year awarded: 2019
- Funding source: federal
- Industry: aerospace & military contracting

Since the 1980s, General Atomics has manned and operated the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, a laboratory centered around the study of magnetic fusion, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. In the fiscal year 2019, the facility received a federal grant from the United States, which would allow for enhancements of the facilities, and therefore enable a wider range of experiments. The facility is located in San Diego, Calif.

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Julian Voss-Andreae // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Florida: Scripps Research Institute

- Subsidy value: $545 million
- Year awarded: 2003
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: biomedical research

In 2003, then Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced that state and local funds, totaling in $545 million, would be put towards the creation of a biomedical research center. Scripps Research Institute is located in Palm Beach County, Fla., and the establishment of the institute was intended to further research in diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's, enliven Florida's biotech industry as a whole, and ultimately create 50,000 jobs over the ensuing decade and a half. However, locals and journalists alike have argued that Bush's efforts were unsuccessful, as Florida's biotech industry has shown little signs of competing with that in hub cities like San Diego and Boston, despite the hefty financial aid.

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Sean Gallup / Staff // Getty Images

#47. Kentucky: Clean Coal Power Operations

- Subsidy value: $550 million
- Year awarded: 2008
- Funding source: state
- Industry: power generation

The term “clean coal” came into the public lexicon in 2008, as a way for coal industry officials to offer their own alternatives to ideas being proposed by climate change scientists. The method of creating “clean coal” is not strictly defined, but generally means that rather than allowing dangerous carbon dioxide to be released into the environment, clean coal facilities would bury it underground. This has not been a successful effort (a Mississippi facility had to give up the entire project once billions had already been spent), and though records exist of a $550 million subsidy from McCracken County, Ky., towards Clean Coal Power Operations in 2008, it seemingly became clear that the project would be too expensive to make this investment worth pursuing.

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James R. Martin // Shutterstock

#46. Tennessee: Volkswagen

- Subsidy value: $554 million
- Year awarded: 2008
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: motor vehicles

In 2008, Volkswagen received a history making subsidy: The company received a total of $577 million, $554 million of which came from sources within the state, thus marking the largest amount American taxpayers had ever put towards a foreign automobile manufacturer. In exchange for this generous package, VW vowed that their Chattanooga, Tennessee plant would generate two thousand jobs. Each job would, therefore, cost the state a grand total of $288,500, but Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander shrugged off concerns about this high price, calling the subsidy an important step in Tennessee becoming “the #1 auto state in the country.”

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Bandersnatch // Shutterstock

#45. Oregon: Intel

- Subsidy value: $579 million
- Year awarded: 2005
- Funding source: state
- Industry: semiconductors

The Strategic Investment Program (SIP), which allows big businesses to operate without paying property taxes on their production tools, was instituted in Oregon state in the early '90s as a way of enticing major manufacturers to settle there. Intel's 2005 SIP agreement was estimated to save the company a total of $579 million, due to a $25 billion tax exemption. The agreement does not require Intel to create any set amount of jobs, but even with the exemption, the company is still the largest taxpayer in Washington County.

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Nephron // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Minnesota: Mayo Clinic

- Subsidy value: $585 million
- Year awarded: 2013
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: healthcare services

Transforming a bill into a legislative reality is a herculean effort, and it is a rare feat that a bill directing $585 million taxpayer dollars to a corporation could be made a reality in less than one calendar year. However, this is precisely what happened in 2013, when the world-renown Mayo Clinic received a bundle of state funds in order to maintain and revamp its Minnesota campus. The medical center also pledged billions, from its own cash supply and as well as private investments, towards the massive renovations, which were intended to benefit both patients and the nearly 35,000 staff members who work there.

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Factory_Easy // Shutterstock

#43. United States: Ameren Energy

- Subsidy value: $589.7 million
- Year awarded: 2010
- Funding source: federal
- Industry: utilities

In 2010, the United States Energy Department pledged $1 billion total towards FutureGen, a project designed to reduce carbon dioxide waste during coal production, with just under $590 million of this being funneled through Ameren Energy. These funds, which were provided from the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), would go towards decking out a power plant for carbon capture and storage. However, Ameren soon pulled out of the agreement, and though FutureGen officials still attempted to negotiate purchasing an Ameren power plant for the project location, FutureGen was ultimately suspended due to an inability to meet required deadlines.

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Christian A. Schröder (ChristianSchd) // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Mississippi: Continental Tire

- Subsidy value: $595.5 million
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: automotive parts-tires

Continental AG, which was founded in Germany in 1871 and entered the American market in the 1980s through the purchase of a company called General Tire, is the fourth largest tire manufacturer in the world. What's more, it received the second largest corporate subsidy of 2016, with $595.5 million going towards the construction of a tire plant in Hinds County, Miss. Lawmakers estimated that the plant would generate 2,500 jobs, and though Continental Tire was set to receive additional benefits in the forms of property and income tax breaks, Mississippi officials have claimed the state will be in the black, with $220 million to spare, by 2040.

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US Embassy Canada // Wikimedia Commons

#41. New York: Pyramid Companies

- Subsidy value: $600 million
- Year awarded: 2002
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: real estate

The Pyramid Companies are responsible for the creation and maintenance of something that many '90s children cherished to their very core: malls. In 2002, the Pyramid Companies were granted $600 million in the form of tax breaks in order to convert a Syracuse Mall into “Destiny USA,” a complex that today includes retail stores, a hotel, and even a comedy club. However, it took longer than expected for this project to get underway, and Syracuse residents were angry that in 2006, the Pyramid Companies were claiming their tax benefits without having created the 40,000 jobs they had promised.

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Mang9 // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Texas: Texas Instruments

- Subsidy value: $600 million
- Year awarded: 2003
- Funding source: local
- Industry: semiconductors

In 2003, Texas granted a $600 million subsidy to Texas Instruments (a company perhaps most commonly known for its high-functioning calculators). This money was granted to the company in the form of tax breaks, to be doled out over 24 years, in order to secure a chip manufacturing plant in Richardson, Texas. However, this did not mark the end of the legal work to be done between the state and the company: In 2018, Richardson City Council agreed to extend their current agreement with Texas Instruments in exchange for the company expanding the existing factory, a project which would cost over $3 billion and theoretically provide 650 new jobs to the city.

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Albert Duce // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Michigan: Bedrock Detroit

- Subsidy value: $618 million
- Year awarded: 2018
- Funding source: state
- Industry: real estate

The $618 million subsidy granted to billionaire Dan Gilbert and his company, Bedrock Detroit, marked the largest tax subsidy in Michigan history. Gilbert, who founded the early iteration of Quicken Loans, devised an extensive $2.2 billion real estate development plan, which included revamping the interior of skyscraper Book Tower, and building acres of new retail and residential space. The proposed plan was originally set to be completed in 2022, at which point it would create over 7,000 new jobs with pay far above the hourly minimum, though there have been concerns that Gilbert's companies are not as concerned as they should be with the safety of these new buildings.

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Justin Sullivan // Getty Imags

#38. New York: IBM

- Subsidy value: $660 million
- Year awarded: 2000
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: information technology

While it's a fairly common practice for states and cities to incentivize companies with tax breaks in exchange for job creation, New York has taken the game to a whole new level: A 2014 review found that at that time, New York had doled out 71,759 tax-subsidy deals worth $21 billion, far more than any other state. One of the state's notable deals took place in 2000, when $660 million in tax breaks, grants, and more, went towards the IBM chip factory in Dutchess County. At the time of the deal, IBM expected to generate 1,400 construction jobs and 1,000 staff jobs, and state officials estimated a revenue of $1 billion for New York over the ensuing seven years.

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Concord // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Maryland: Sagamore Development

- Subsidy value: $660 million
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: local
- Industry: real estate development

Like many corporate subsidies, the 2016 Sagamore Development deal, which saw the state of Maryland offering the company $660 million in public financing, drew both positive and negative attention. Those in favor cited the importance of job creation, while detractors opposed the concept of corporate welfare. Sagamore Development, which was co-founded by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, planned to completely revamp a waterfront area of South Baltimore known as Port Covington, and finance consulting firm Municap estimated this would generate 35,000 jobs and bring in $1.7 billion to the state over 41 years. One requirement of this deal was that 10% of the housing created be “affordable,” which here means affordable for families earning less than 80% of the median income.

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Planet Labs, Inc. // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Nevada: Tesla Motors

- Subsidy value: $725.8 million
- Year awarded: 2015
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

Considering the fact that a Tesla vehicle can cost over $100,000, it's fitting that the company would expect a fairly generous bundle when deciding where to locate its next plant. The Tesla deal, in which the company ultimately received $725.8 million in state sales tax abatements (as part of a larger package that could save Tesla over $1 billion over 20 years), was in many ways the first of its kind. Rather than produce cars, the Nevada Tesla plant would produce the lithium-ion batteries that power the electric Teslas. Criticism of this massive deal certainly abounded—some argued that Tesla CEO Elon Musk played the state into giving more than it needed to—but the clear potential benefits of the more than 20,000 jobs the plant would supposedly create was enough to keep things moving forward.

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Pixabay

#35. New York: SolarCity Corp.

- Subsidy value: $750 million
- Year awarded: 2014
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

SolarCity Corp., a subsidiary of Tesla headquartered in California, is a big name in solar energy but struggled to bring its recent New York solar panel operation to life. In 2014, the state okayed the use of $750 million towards building and decking out a SolarCity plant in Buffalo, but it wasn't until midway through 2018 that the plant was considered complete. This then started the timer on a major requirement of the overall deal: Tesla was required to bring just shy of 1,500 jobs to Buffalo within two years of the SolarCity plant becoming operational, and would have to pay tens of millions in fines for each year that this goal was not met—by the end of 2018, the SolarCity plant was still not meeting its employment or production goals.

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Rob Crandall // Shutterstock

#34. Virginia: Amazon

- Subsidy value: $750 million
- Year awarded: 2019
- Funding source: state
- Industry: retail-internet

Amazon's recent quest to find a home for its extensive new headquarters proved something of a popularity contest, with states from coast to coast making juicy financial offers and singing their own praises. This didn't end even after Amazon announced that its sights were set on New York—political disputes proved too challenging to overcome, and with New York out of the picture, Virginia seized the moment to declare that it was both more prepared and more grateful to claim Amazon as its own. The final deal between Virginia and Amazon involves a subsidy package worth $750 million towards the new campus, over 15 years, and a promise by Amazon to create 25,000 (and potentially up to 38,000) new jobs for the state.

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Patrick Feller // Flickr

#33. Louisiana: Cameron LNG

- Subsidy value: $778.6 million
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: state
- Industry: utilities

In 2013, the LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility in Cameron, La., received over $2 billion in funds and tax abatements. In 2016, the project then received a deal that would result in an additional $778.6 million in property tax abatements as the result of a planned 500-acre expansion that would supposedly generate nearly 4,000 permanent and construction jobs. In a turn of dark irony, this coastal region relies on the LNG industry for jobs and income, but research has shown that the existence of these gas plants is greatly contributing to the fact that Cameron may be underwater in just five decades.

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Pixabay

#32. Texas: Nebraska Furniture Mart

- Subsidy value: $802 million
- Year awarded: 2011
- Funding source: local
- Industry: diversified

Colony is a suburb of Dallas and the location of Texas's branch of Nebraska Furniture Mart. Nebraska Furniture Mart made its way to the lone star state in 2011, enticed by an $802 million incentives package that included putting building expenses, parking garage costs, and more on the city's dime. The deal will meet its full worth over the course of 40 years, and though the complex is successfully operating, it did raise questions over whether such a large incentives package puts excessive strain on local resources.

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JB Manning // Shutterstock

#31. Louisiana: Venture Global Plaquemines LNG

- Subsidy value: $835.6 million
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: state
- Industry: oil & gas

In December of 2016, Venture Global executives and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced plans for an $8.5 billion liquefied natural gas project in Plaquemines Parish. The project, which the company intended to have fully operational by 2020, would supply 250 jobs at its 632-acre site, and would receive an estimated $835.6 million in property tax abatements. At the end of 2018, Issues of environmental impact were raised for the plant, which at its peak would export 20 million tons of LNG per year, and the FERC found that measures must be put in place to mitigate wetland damage and greenhouse emissions.

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Louisiana Travel // Flickr

#30. Louisiana: Lake Charles LNG Export Company

- Subsidy value: $852.8 million
- Year awarded: 2015
- Funding source: state
- Industry: pipelines

Lake Charles LNG, located in Lake Charles, La., is an import terminal for liquefied natural gas, and in 2015, the company announced plans to develop an export terminal as a part of the same facility. The site was expected to cost around $2 billion in total, and the state of Louisiana offered up just over $850 million in property tax abatements in order to bring the project to life. In exchange, Louisiana officials believed the plant would create nearly 500 permanent jobs, both direct and indirect, as well as 1,000 temporary construction jobs during the building process.

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John Gress Media Inc // Shutterstock

#29. Indiana: General Motors

- Subsidy value: $879.5 million
- Year awarded: 2001
- Funding source: local
- Industry: motor vehicles

For General Motors has purportedly received over 200 subsidies just from states, federal grants withholding. In 2001, General Motors accepted a package worth $879.5 million from the state of Indiana, which would go towards a GM truck assembly plant. However, there are some things that money can't buy, and even this long history of financial aid hasn't saved GM from its troubles—in 2018, the company closed four plants and laid off nearly 15,000 employees, despite the fact that there was a point in time when the government owned the majority of General Motors shares.

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airbus777 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. South Carolina: Boeing

- Subsidy value: $900 million
- Year awarded: 2009
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: aerospace & military contracting

In 2009, aircraft manufacturer Boeing received the whopping sum of $900 million, in the form of property tax breaks and state bonds, in the name of their North Charleston, S.C., manufacturing plant. This amount is larger than what lawmakers initially estimated allotting to the company, and there have been reports that the state had to borrow over $200 million to make the deal happen. However, there have been clear benefits to this deal as well. The plant itself was built within 18 months, will bring billions to the state, and as of 2017, employed 8,000 people.

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Gustavo Fade // Shutterstock

#27. Alabama: Toyota-Mazda

- Subsidy value: $900 million
- Year awarded: 2018
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: auto assembly plant

Toyota and Mazda aren’t just roommates at their joint Huntington, Ala., plant—they’re partners. In 2017, Toyota purchased a 5% share of Mazda, and the state of Alabama was quick to put forward a generous subsidy package in order to incentivize the two companies to consider the southern state for a new automotive manufacturing plant. Mazda and Toyota agreed, and now, the plant is expected to create 4,000 jobs at an average salary of $50,000 annually, produce 300,000 cars a year, and generate hundreds of millions in state revenue, once it is completed in 2021. 

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Katherine Welles // Shutterstock

#26. Michigan: Ford Motor Company

- Subsidy value: $1 billion
- Year awarded: 2011
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

Michigan and Ford Motor have been financially entangled for many years, and quite a large chunk of Michigan's tax dollars have gone towards encouraging the auto giant to maintain its presence in the state. In 2010, Ford was given a MEGA (Michigan Economic Growth Authority) tax credit in order to incentivize the company to continue its expansion in Michigan, rather than relocating to other, more affordable locations in the U.S. and abroad. The majority of the deal was agreed upon in 2010, but in 2011, Ford received about $1 billion in tax credits from Michigan as part of this package.

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Pixabay

#25. Louisiana: Venture Global Calcasieu Pass

- Subsidy value: $1 billion
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: state
- Industry: oil & gas

In 2016, the Venture Global Calcasieu Pass project received a subsidy valued at $1 billion, in the form of a decade long property tax abatement. The Venture Global Calcasieu Pass project was finally okayed by the U.S. Department of Energy in early 2019, meaning the facility was approved to begin receiving and exporting liquefied natural gas to other countries. Construction plans, which will temporarily employ 1,500 workers, are underway.

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Scottposey // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Alabama: ThyssenKrupp

- Subsidy value: $1.1 billion
- Year awarded: 2007
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: steel

Not every deal will go down in the history books as an unchallenged success, and that's certainly the case for the 2007 ThyssenKrupp subsidy. As of 2016, Alabama has offered over $3 billion in subsidies to various companies, and a whopping $1 billion of that total went towards bringing German steel and industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp to Calvert. The deal has not been looked back on favorably, as ThyssenKrupp experienced a string of financial losses and finally sold its Alabama plant in 2014.

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Good Free Photos

#23. Michigan: General Motors Corporation

- Subsidy value: $1.1 billion
- Year awarded: 2009
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

In the final weeks of 2008, president George W. Bush approved a General Motors bailout, and throughout 2009, the company continued to falter financially, missing debt payments and discussing bankruptcy. In the midst of all this, GM did receive another form of aid from Michigan, where the company has long been headquartered, in the form of a $1.1 billion tax credit that would last 20 years. This was not without strings: The deal was founded on GM's ability to create and maintain 20,000 jobs in Michigan, and invest more than $2 billion back into the state.

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Mark Agnor // Shutterstock

#22. Louisiana: Sabine Pass Liquefaction

- Subsidy value: $1.2 billion
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: state
- Industry: oil & gas

The Sabine Pass Liquefaction project, a coastal facility for creating liquefied natural gas, has received many, many subsidies and tax breaks in the past decade or so, and in 2016, the Sabine Pass facility received an additional estimated $1.2 billion in the form of a decade long property tax abatement. This new award was in response to the facility's expansion, as it adds up to six new trains. Additionally, this was the year that Sabine Pass, under parent company Cheniere Energy, shipped its first liquefied natural gas export.

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Niyazz // Shutterstock

#21. New York: Advanced Micro Devices

- Subsidy value: $1.2 billion
- Year awarded: 2006
- Funding source: state
- Industry: diversified

Back in 2006, the $1.2 billion incentive package that New York offered to Advanced Micro Devices, a semiconductor company, ruffled more than a few feathers. Those who opposed the package argued that the deal, which was intended to allow Advanced Micro Devices to build a computer chip factory in upstate New York, would mean each individual job created came with the staggering price tag of nearly $1 million. However, even the most staunch critic would have to admit that this deal resulted in a categorical success: AMD created more than double the 1,205 jobs it had promised and generated about four times the expected return on investment for the state.

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banditka // Shutterstock

#20. Mississippi: Nissan

- Subsidy value: $1.3 billion
- Year awarded: 2000
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: motor vehicles

At the start of the new millennium, Nissan and the state of Mississippi reached an agreement that was financially beneficial to the Japanese automobile manufacturer, but also came with a very specific list of requirements that were not always met. In exchange for a sum that ultimately amounted to $1.3 billion, Nissan would need to pay all employees of the Mississippi facility 125% of the state average—however, studies found that in the years following this deal, some Nissan employees that were technically hired by separate agencies were making less than half of what they should. The Mississippi Nissan deal was first reported to be worth only $295 million, but when additional features of the package, such as Job Tax Credits and additional tax breaks, were accounted for, the sum swelled to more than four times that amount.

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Planet Labs, Inc. // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Nevada: Tesla Motors

- Subsidy value: $1.3 billion
- Year awarded: 2014
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: motor vehicles

Like Amazon, Tesla, a company notorious for navigating tax breaks, found itself in the midst of a popularity contest as it searched for the state its next big Gigafactory would call home. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada all put in bids, but Nevada seemed to be out of the running when state officials refused Tesla's demand of a $500 million cash advance—that is, until Tesla agreed to accept a package Nevada could offer, which would include a whopping $1.3 billion in tax breaks and incentives over a 20 year period. What made Nevada return with such an offer? Likely the estimated 22,700 jobs (6,500 of them “direct”) that Tesla's Gigafactory, which produces car batteries, would provide to the state.

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alisafarov // Shutterstock

#18. Michigan: Chrysler

- Subsidy value: $1.3 billion
- Year awarded: 2010
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

In the 1990s, Michigan faced a potentially devastating problem: Its automotive industry was collapsing, and the “Big Three” (Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and GM) were struggling to keep employees. To combat this, Michigan instituted the MEGA (Michigan Economic Growth Authority) program, through which companies were financially rewarded for job creation through tax refunds—unfortunately, this also meant that by 2015, the state of Michigan owed about $9 billion to various companies, and about $1.3 billion of that was owed to Chrysler. MEGA was axed in 2011, but the state is still obligated to pay back Chrysler, and the other companies, at least part of what was promised.

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qwesy qwesy // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Michigan: Chrysler

- Subsidy value: $1.4 billion
- Year awarded: 2011
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

The previous entry detailed a $1.3 billion tax break given to Fiat Chrysler in 2010; this 2011 subsidy, worth just slightly more at $1.4 billion, is a part of the same package but is a reevaluation of the value of Fiat's MEGA (Michigan Economic Growth Authority) Tax Credit. In 2015, Fiat Chrysler agreed to a $1.7 billion cap on their remaining tax credits, to be doled out over the ensuing 14 years.

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HelloRF Zcool // Shutterstock

#16. Louisiana: Sabine Pass Liquefaction

- Subsidy value: $1.4 billion
- Year awarded: 2011
- Funding source: state
- Industry: oil & gas

Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC, which also holds spots #50 and #22 on this list, has received a great deal of financial aid from the state of Louisiana. In fact, the natural gas liquefaction facility has received more than 20 awards from Louisiana, totaling nearly $4 billion in tax credits, subsidies, and more. In 2011, Sabine Pass Liquefaction received a $1.4 billion property tax abatement for its location on the Sabine Pass River, between Louisiana and Texas.

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SASOL // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Louisiana: Sasol USA Corporation

- Subsidy value: $1.5 billion
- Year awarded: 2016
- Funding source: state
- Industry: chemicals

Sasol, an international energy and chemical company, had its sights set on building a gas-to-liquids plant, worth billions, in Westlake, Louisiana. In 2016, Louisiana agreed to grant the corporation a ten-year property tax exemption, which was valued at $1.5 billion. Then, in 2017, when Sasol announced it may have to walk away from the project, the news was met with mixed reactions: Louisiana would lose out on 750 potential new jobs, but would also no longer be required to pay a portion of the sum originally promised, including rebates Sasol would have earned for meeting certain markers of job creation.

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Missouri: Cerner Corp.

- Subsidy value: $1.6 billion
- Year awarded: 2013
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: healthcare services

Cerner Corp., a health information technology company headquartered in Missouri, began expressing interest in the site of the then recently demolished Bannister Mall in 2009. However, it wasn't until 2013 that the corporation and the state came to an agreement about how to move forward: In the fall of that year, Kansas City Council voted in favor of a $1.63 billion tax incentive package for a sprawling new Cerner Corp. office space, which was expected to cost around $4 billion total. Cerner has asserted that by the mid-2020s, this new Kansas City campus will generate 16,000 jobs—a demand so high that Kansas City has put training programs in place to help create qualified candidates.

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Drums600 // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Pennsylvania: Royal Dutch Shell

- Subsidy value: $1.7 billion
- Year awarded: 2012
- Funding source: state
- Industry: oil & gas

Royal Dutch Shell, known commonly as Shell, took the first step towards the creation of its Pennsylvania ethane cracker plant in 2012 when the state offered Shell a $1.7 billion tax incentive package. Ethane cracker plants, which scientists widely agree are harmful to the environment, are the plants that execute the first step in turning ethane into plastic, and the Pennsylvania Shell plant was intended to create over 10,000 jobs in the chemical industry, along with just as many construction jobs during the building process. Construction on this plant began in 2017.

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Roy Luck // Flickr

#12. Louisiana: Cheniere Energy

- Subsidy value: $1.7 billion
- Year awarded: 2010
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: oil & gas

Cheniere Energy, an LNG (liquefied natural gas company) with headquarters in Texas, is the company behind the Sabine Pass Liquefaction project, an entity that takes up several other spots on this list. This particular deal, a 2010 package worth $1.7 billion, overlaps with one of those entries (#16, a $1.4 billion deal in 2011), but exists as a mega package that also includes cash rebates, additional property tax abatements, and funds from the Industrial Tax Exemption Program. This package, which was put in place to help fund the Sabine Pass Liquefaction project, resulted in 148 new jobs and 77 retained jobs at an average annual wage (including benefits) of $100,000.

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HelloRF Zcool // Shutterstock

#11. Louisiana: Lake Charles LNG Export Company

- Subsidy value: $1.8 billion
- Year awarded: 2015
- Funding source: local
- Industry: pipelines

Entry #30 on this list discusses the $852.8 million subsidy given to Lake Charles LNG Export Company in 2015 by the state of Louisiana; this deal, worth $1.8 billion, overlaps with the prior sum, but is part of a package that included three separate property tax exemption deals that would each last 10 years. Each of these deals was put in place in order to aid in the construction of three new liquefaction trains at the Lake Charles site. The site is expected to produce 200 full-time jobs, though as of 2019, parent companies Shell and Energy Transfer have estimated that exportation from Lake Charles will not be fully realized until the mid-2020s.

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khlnmusa // Wikimedia Commons

#10. New Mexico: Intel

- Subsidy value: $2 billion
- Year awarded: 2004
- Funding source: local
- Industry: semiconductors

Intel received its first property tax abatement from New Mexico in 1993, at a value of over $600 million. But that was just the beginning—New Mexico has pumped substantial amounts of cash into its relationship with the technology company, and in 2004, an estimated $2 billion went towards expansions of Intel's New Mexico manufacturing facility. The deal did not require Intel, which employees some 1,100 people at its Rio Rancho location, to generate a specific number of new jobs, though the company has certainly had a lasting impact on the state in terms of both economics and employment.

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Alexander Oganezov // Shutterstock

#9. Oregon: Intel

- Subsidy value: $2 billion
- Year awarded: 2014
- Funding source: state
- Industry: semiconductors

Intel has been a key player in Oregon's economic landscape for decades, but the financial relationship between the state and the company is in constant flux. By 2014, Intel's Washington County campus had expanded far past the expected point, meaning that the previous package of tax breaks Oregon had awarded the company would soon no longer apply. In response, Oregon offered a deal that would save the company an estimated $2 billion in tax breaks over the course of three decades, and though Intel has openly stated that the deal would not generate many new jobs, officials felt it was necessary to both maintain a positive relationship with one of the state's biggest economic forces, and illustrate to other major businesses that Oregon is a destination worth considering.

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Alexander Oganezov // Shutterstock

#8. Oregon: Nike

- Subsidy value: $2 billion
- Year awarded: 2012
- Funding source: state
- Industry: apparel

Nike has roots in Oregon: It was founded by a former student of and coach for the University of Oregon, has long been headquartered in Beaverton, and opened its first retail store in downtown Portland. But in 2012, Nike, which made $25 billion in revenue that year, threatened to leave the state unless the company was given satisfactory tax breaks. With little choice, state officials coalesced and passed the so-called “Nike Bill,” ensuring that Nike would save $2 billion in tax breaks over the following 30 years; many were publicly angered by the deal, however, arguing that Nike's threats of leaving were empty and that a company with such high profits should be able to pay its fair share.

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Mike Mareen // Shutterstock

#7. Louisiana: Cameron LNG

- Subsidy value: $2.2 billion
- Year awarded: 2013
- Funding source: local
- Industry: utilities

Cameron LNG, named for the Cameron Parish region in which the company's natural gas liquefaction project is located, is a Louisiana facility developed by Sempra Energy. In 2013, nearly $2.2 billion from local sources went towards property tax abatements and more as part of a deal with the Cameron LNG facility. Though the construction of such major new projects in this region—which has a population of just 7,000, and was severely damaged by two hurricanes in the past decade and a half—should theoretically cause a flood of jobs and revenue to the community, the area is struggling to make ends meet without the income of Cameron LNG property taxes.

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James R. Martin // Shutterstock

#6. Michigan: Ford Motor

- Subsidy value: $2.3 billion
- Year awarded: 2010
- Funding source: state
- Industry: motor vehicles

This is the second item on this list that concerns the relationship between Ford Motor Company and Michigan, but this 2010 deal was the first and also the larger of the two. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax break Ford received was initially estimated to be worth about $900 million, but soon rose up to just over $1 billion, and in 2015, state officials reported that the tax break was ultimately worth (and was capped at) $2.3 billion, though it comes with a requirement that the company spend $3.1 billion in Michigan and retain about 40,000 jobs.

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Pixabay

#5. Michigan: General Motors

- Subsidy value: $2.3 billion
- Year awarded: 2009
- Funding source: multiple
- Industry: motor vehicles

An earlier entry on this list detailed the $1.1 billion deal that Michigan gave to General Motors in 2009, and this $2.3 billion deal from the same year overlaps with that sum. General Motors' original MEGA credit was estimated at $1.1 billion, but over time, as it became clear that these MEGA payments would cost the state far more than anticipated, General Motors' tax credit rose to $2.1 billion, plus $136.5 from local funds to help cover the costs of training new GM employees. This particular training package was geared towards the Michigan Orion Assembly, where Ford would manufacture its next model.

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David Axe // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Washington: Boeing

- Subsidy value: $3.2 billion
- Year awarded: 2003
- Funding source: state
- Industry: aerospace & military contracting

Boeing, the airplane designer and manufacturer, has held a presence in Washington state for over a century and is a massive force as one of the largest private employers in the state. However, after Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, Washington needed to pull out the big guns in order to maintain Boeing's loyalties and factories, and the big guns turned out to be a 2003 incentives package worth $3.2 billion through 2024. This would not mark the end of Boeing and Washington's subsidy struggle, but the aircraft manufacturer did generate enough jobs over the years following this deal to help Washington withstand the recession.

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Shealah Craighead // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Wisconsin: Foxconn

- Subsidy value: $4.8 billion
- Year awarded: 2017
- Funding source: state
- Industry: electronic equipment

In 2017, Wisconsin approved $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies for a new Foxconn factory, which was billed as an ultramodern site that would employ at least 13,000 people in the creation of screens for 75 inch TVs; at the groundbreaking ceremony the following summer, President Donald Trump announced that the building would, in fact, be the “eighth wonder of the world.” By early 2019, however, it was unclear if Wisconsin's largest handout of all time would be heading anywhere at all—the CEO of Foxconn first announced that both the factory and the physical product would be much smaller, and then dropped the news that due to production costs, the entire project would be halted without further notice. The Taiwan-based company has changed its tune several times since then, stating that they might refocus the space towards research or prototyping, though it's unclear whether any of these ventures will allow Foxconn to meet the employment or investment requirements contingent in the Wisconsin subsidy.

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Russ Nelson // Flickr

#2. New York: Alcoa

- Subsidy value: $5.6 billion
- Year awarded: 2007
- Funding source: state
- Industry: metals

Valued at $5.6 billion, the 2007 deal between New York state and Alcoa, an American industrial corporation, marks the second largest subsidy package a state has ever put together. This incentives package came consisted of tax breaks and discounted electricity to be put in place over the ensuing 30 years, in order to ensure the creation of a new aluminum plant Alcoa would run. Since this subsidy was enacted, Alcoa Corporation has separated from its parent company and operates as a publicly traded company that employees 14,000 people across 15 countries.

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cpaulfell // Shutterstock

#1. Washington: Boeing

- Subsidy value: $8.7 billion
- Year awarded: 2013
- Funding source: state
- Industry: aerospace & military contracting

Back in 2013, Washington state made history and headlines: Washington awarded Boeing a record-breaking $8.7 billion tax break package, the largest ever given by any state. The deal was intended to encourage Boeing's expansion within the state, which would naturally lead to job creation—but unfortunately, this desire for job creation was merely a general hope, rather than an actual clause in the Boeing contract, and by 2017, Boeing had in fact eliminated over 12,000 jobs (15% of its Washington employees). Though the Boeing corporation was technically within its rights to behave this way, Washington state officials have been understandably infuriated and fought back by attempting to reclaim some of the tax breaks Washington was originally offered.

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