Tennessee officials have taken more than $4 billion from state taxpayers and given it to wealthy corporations, says a Washington, D.C.-based group that monitors spending in all 50 states.
Members of that group, Good Jobs First, list online the top 10 Tennessee companies getting corporate welfare. People who work in government say corporate welfare will compel companies to either stay or relocate to their corner of Tennessee. It’s good for economic development, they say.
Companies that get handouts from state and local officials include affluent Nissan, Volkswagen and HCA Healthcare.
The deal some get from Tennessee is much sweeter than offerings from other states.
As the numbers reveal, five of the 10 listed companies also get taxpayer money from other states — but more than half the total amount they receive nationwide comes from Tennessee.
“People need to care about this because all the money those companies receive is public money,” said Kasia Tarczynska, spokeswoman for Good Jobs First.
“Subsidies (for companies) can come in the form of property tax abatements but also in the form of grants.”
According to Good Jobs First, the top 10 corporations taking advantage of state taxpayers are:
• Volkswagen —$818 million (out of $1 billion nationwide)
• Nissan — more than $536 million in corporate welfare (out of $1.9 billion nationwide)
• Dow Corning — more than $479 million (out of $1 billion nationwide)
• Electrolux — $231 million (out of more than $321 million nationwide)
• Wacker Chemie — $217 million (out of more than $370 million nationwide)
• HCA Holdings — $190 million (out of more than $197 million nationwide)
• Dell Technologies — $166 million (out of more than $530 million nationwide)
• Hankook Tire — $150 million (no other states gave this company any subsidies)
• TRT Holdings (which owns the Omni Hotel chain) — $128 million (out of $130 million nationwide)
• Eastman Chemical — $120 million (out of $132 million nationwide)
On Friday Tennessee Watchdog will publish a response from some of these companies and describe how at least one of these projects failed the taxpayers abysmally.
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