What they are saying about corporate giveaways...

HIP Health Care chief comments  on $10 million in Federal 9/11 resources received in exchange for moving 2,000 employees to Lower Manhattan:

While it was nice to receive the grants, that was not a factor in our decision. -- Anthony Watson, HIP Chief Executive, WNYC radio, October 12, 2004.

Pfizer executives explain why the city's $46.1 million subsidy did not drive the company's decision to expand in NYC:  

We never really talked about leaving Manhattan . . . We realize it's not the cheapest place to do business, but we're already here . . . We attract a high-quality workforce in New York City, and we think it's advantageous to be in the country's business and financial capital.      -- Greg Vahle, Pfizer Vice President of human resources and services, quoted in Crain's New York Business June 23, 2003. 

American Express says it would have stayed downtown, even without a $25 million "retention" grant:

Our decision to return downtown, which has been our home for more than 150 years, was not predicated on financial incentives . . . Once those financial incentives became available, we chose to participate, as did other companies.-- Tony Mitchell, spokesman for American Express, on receiving a $25 million grant to retain its workers in Lower Manhattan following the September 11th attacks, quoted in Newsday June 3, 2002.

NYC mayor and US Secretary of the Treasury agree that relying on tax breaks is bad business strategy:

Any company that makes a decision as to where they are going to be based on the tax rate is a company that won't be around very long...If you're down to that incremental margin you don't have a business.-- Michael Bloomberg, quoted in The New York Times, November 8, 2001.

As a businessman I never made an investment decision based on the tax code... If you give money away I will take it, but good business people don't do things because of inducements.-- Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill at his confirmation hearing in January 2001.

Subsidies Now and Forever?

During the recession in the early 1990s, city officials argued that the incentives were necessary to persuade corporations not to abandon the city. Now, city officials argue that the city economy is so robust that companies cannot find large blocks of prime office space and cannot afford new construction without city subsidies. -- Charles Bagli, The New York Times, Aug. 28, 1997.

Jersey City developers know corporations are taking New York City for a ride:

The city is paying an unnecessary price in allowing itself to be shaken down by one tenant or another. Too many politicians know the price of everything but not the value of New York City. I don't know how Giuliani allows this rape of taxpayer dollars to continue. -- Jersey City developer Leonard Stern, quoted in The New York Times, November 8, 1998.

A lot of people come out and kick the tires and then go back to New York and negotiate a deal. It's part of the process of getting subsidies out of New York. -- Jersey City developer Richard LeFrak, quoted in The New York Times, October 17, 1997.

Even some anti-tax groups have a problem with giveaways to big companies:

It's a form of blackmail by the companies and a clear case of corporate welfare by the politicians. The state and the city could stop giving tax breaks, and companies would still want and need to be located in New York City.-- Brian Backstrom, Vice President of Change-NY, a conservative anti-tax group, quoted in The New York Times, June 6, 1999.