One Tennessee corporate handout a case in disaster management

One Tennessee corporate handout a case in disaster management

Tennessee taxpayers gave 10 wealthy corporations more than $4 billion in handouts, and state officials had to practice disaster management when dealing with one project gone wrong.

The numbers came from the Washington D.C.-based Good Jobs First.

Tennessee Watchdog has already identified a listing of those 10 corporations who took taxpayer money.

But, as it pertains to Dell Technologies, Good Jobs First’s got the numbers wrong, Dell spokeswoman Lauren Lee said. The correct figure is less than $50 million, she said.

Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale said the correct amount of money Tennessee gave that company is $182 million.

Representatives from the other eight companies failed to return Tennessee Watchdog’s requests for comment.

But Tarczynska says Good Jobs First did the proper research.

“Our data comes from public agencies. We also got this data from Freedom of Information Act requests and public agencies,” Tarczynska said.

“If they want to question our numbers then that means they are questioning the data that it comes from.”

RELATED — Memphis hands out more than $1 million in corporate welfare to entice auto company

The group’s website said Tennessee has distributed this money through more than 8,000 different subsidies.

According to the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, Dow Corning took public money for that city’s Hemlock Semi-Conductor, a polycrystalline plant that has since closed. Dow Corning officials blamed market adversity and complex political conditions for the closure.

The paper described it as “a disaster for Clarksville-Montgomery, the state of Tennessee, and the nation’s industrial complex.”

As Tennessee Watchdog reported in 2013, Volkswagen spent some of the money they got from state taxpayers, $2 million, so company officials could paint the company name on the roof of one of their buildings in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen officials at the time said it was a great way to promote the company to people in airplanes and people viewing Chattanooga on Google Earth.

As Tennessee Watchdog also reported, state officials gave away $100 million so Electrolux could set up shop in Memphis, with city and county officials giving an additional $20 million each.

Members of the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office have already warned Memphis officials to either tighten the city’s finances or face state intervention.

Good Jobs First’s numbers, Tarczynska said, are constantly revised.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org

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