AOC, other NY pols silent on tax break for Micron chip plant

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other New York progressives — who helped kill Amazon’s plans for a Queens headquarters in 2019 — have been conspicuously quiet about an upstate semiconductor plant that’s expected to become far pricier for taxpayers.

Chipmaker Micron is set to receive at least $5.5 billion in state tax incentives over the next two-plus decades in exchange for building a semiconductor factory outside Syracuse that will employ 9,000 workers.

By contrast, the so-called HQ2 that Amazon proposed for Queens in 2018 — but was later killed following protests from local politicians and residents — was set to receive roughly $3 billion in tax credits and state construction subsidies in exchange for what Amazon said would be 25,000 jobs.

That works out to the Micron plant creating less than half as many jobs in exchange for nearly twice as many tax incentives — or $611,000 per job. The Amazon proposal would have cost about $120,000 per job.

Micron is set to receive $5.5 billion in incentives from New York for a semiconductor plant outside Syracuse.
PA

The Micron deal — which President Biden is set to celebrate alongside Micron’s CEO in a visit to Syracuse on Thursday — came together after nearly two years of negotiations involving Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Syracuse.com reported.

New York reportedly beat out at least four other states including Texas to land the plant by wooing Micron with the fattest incentive package. But many progressives who slammed the Amazon deal as a corporate handout to one of the biggest companies in the world have remained silent about Micron.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who ripped the Amazon deal for “giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling,” appears to not have publicly spoken about the Micron plant and did not respond to requests for comment from The Post.

AOC also helped set Micron and other chip manufacturers up to receive extra federal subsidies on top of the New York tax breaks by voting for the Biden-backed Chips and Science Act in June. That puts her at odds with fellow socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who joined with many Republicans to vote against the bill and blasted it as a “$53 billion blank check to profitable microchip and semiconductor companies.”

Rep.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) ripped the Amazon deal for “giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) ripped the Amazon deal for “giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images

It’s unclear exactly how much in federal subsidies Micron and other chipmakers will receive from the Chips Act because they are not allowed to apply for federal support until next year.

Beyond Ocasio-Cortez, some state politicians who fought against Amazon’s HQ2 have also been quiet about the Micron deal.

Democratic state Sense. Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos, who both represent Queens and were outspoken critics of the Amazon deal, appear to not have publicly spoken about the semiconductor plant. Their spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment about their stances on Micron subsidies.

AmazonHQ2
Amazon killed plans for a potential headquarters in Queens in 2019.
Paul Martinka

Not all Amazon critics were silent. Queens state Assemblyman Ron Kim, who opposed the Amazon HQ2 deal, told The Post he is also against the Micron subsidies.

“As long as governors and mayors tout ‘jobs’ and some ‘growth,’ they get away with spending billions of taxpayer money without any accountability and oversight,” the Democrat said. “I have never believed in bribing billionaires and mega-corporations to do business in our state because it sets the wrong precedent of a perpetual race to the bottom economics. Simply put, New York’s corporate welfare has resulted in billions of wasted taxpayer money.”

In the case of Micron specifically, Kim added, “I am opposed to the subsidies, but I respect my colleagues’ wishes for what they want in their regions.”

Ron Kim
State Assemblyman Ron Kim told The Post he’s “never believed in bribing billionaires and mega-corporations.”
Hans Pennink

Backers of the Micron deal including Biden and Schumer argue that the US needs to subsidize domestic manufacturing of semiconductors — which are crucial parts of products like phones and cars — in order to create high-paying jobs and better compete with China.

Much of the semiconductor supply chain is currently concentrated in Taiwan and other parts of Asia, making the US economy vulnerable to a potential Chinese embargo or war.

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.