A few months back I stood alone, warning of my fears of relying upon promises from IBM, a global outsourcing giant, without getting those guarantees in writing. I simply asked that we get a confirmation in writing. Nothing more. Nothing less. Alone, I warned our leaders that we should not reward these global giants with an even larger giveaway of corporate welfare, without getting confirmation that such funds would not be used to outsource American jobs. Not even a few years prior, we found IBM cashing checks from taxpayers while simultaneously patenting a new technology specifically designed to outsource New York jobs. Sadly, instead of learning from the past, IBM was handed another $400 million in incentives, direct and indirect. As small businesses everywhere are shutting their doors, I spoke out about the fact that this was an unacceptable risk without written confirmation to protect American jobs.
Now, once again, we are seeing IBM layoff hardworking New Yorkers. These new layoffs are deeply troubling and once again show why my demands that NY state demand specifics from IBM were legitimate. Let it be clear, a private corporation does and should have free reign to operate freely, but when they accept taxpayer benefits we must make sure that those dollars and our jobs are truly protected. We must hold IBM accountable for any direct or indirect benefits they receive from NY taxpayers. They have already received hundreds of millions of dollars from New York State taxpayers. We have a right to know what concessions were secured as New York decided to give $400 million to a group of companies that are known for off shoring jobs.
It is urgent that we pass my legislation (S6586), which holds any corporation or business receiving any direct or indirect benefits from NY taxpayers accountable. Corporations in New York State have received hundreds of millions of dollars from hard-working taxpayers, while simultaneously outsourcing jobs across seas and laying off New York State residents. It is the role of legislators to hold these corporations who receive any kind of economic development funds from the state, accountable for doing what the money was intended to do, and that is creating jobs here in New York and not abroad. My legislation would guarantee that when New York state taxpayer dollars go to companies for economic development, the companies must:
- Stop shipping NY jobs overseas.
- Create permanent jobs in New York.
- Physically locate all NY jobs in NY instead of overseas or out-of-state telecommuting jobs.
- Provide full transparency in their reporting about their worldwide employee population.
- Not mixing NY state taxpayer dollars with private sector dollars to create overseas jobs.
- Disclose all attendees at the bargaining table when deals are negotiated.
The incentives handed to IBM should have in return delivered a commitment to keep jobs in New York. They also could have been divided into 1,600 or more small business loans, spreading opportunity to new businesses and entrepreneurs statewide. In fact, a portion could have immediately went to fix bridges, roads and crumbling infrastructure, putting thousands of New Yorkers back to work. Instead, we have once again made a deal, evidently without written guarantees, with a global outsourcing giant and the taxpayers are now left holding the bag as employees get pink slips. I don’t care if I have to continue to be the sole voice on this, this is unacceptable.