The Center Square: New York tax dollars aid Corning expansion, but was it ‘going somewhere else?’

July 8, 2022 Media

A New York-based technology company plans to spend nearly $140 million to expand its footprint upstate and help boost the production of semiconductors, and while the state is providing some tax credits toward the project, at least one organization questions whether that’s a prudent investment.

Corning Incorporated made the announcement Friday at a press conference in Fairport that included Democrats Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Corning’s expansion project is the latest to include state tax incentives, a practice that has drawn questions from some state lawmakers and groups like the American Economic Liberties Project. In late March, the nonprofit advocacy organization released a report highlighting “The Dirtiest Dozen” economic development deals the state has made.

Pat Garofalo, the director of state and local policy for Economic Liberties, told The Center Square on Friday that the state has a track record of “throwing tons of money” at companies that either failed completely or did not produce the investment or jobs promised.

While the Corning deal isn’t major in that it doesn’t involve a massive incentive, it’s still the type of incentive that needs more scrutiny.

“It looks like a kind of classic case of paying a corporation to do what it was going to do anyway,” he said. “Was there any indication that Corning was going to go somewhere else? Was threatening to leave? Wasn’t going to do this expansion without the money? Governor Hochul says in her own press release that this is a booming industry with lots of domestic demand. So I just don’t see the case for needing to do this for this specific corporation at this specific time.”