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Fair share of shady deals

google logoThe News & Observer reported today about the secret dealing Google had with the NC Legislature that ultimately got them tax breaks worth $89 million over 30 years.

Google tried to silence lawmakers and pushed — at times with a heavy hand — to influence legislation designed to bring the company to Caldwell County.

Lawmakers last year approved a measure eliminating sales tax on electricity and equipment used by Internet computer centers.

As work proceeded on the bill to remove much of its tax burden, Google threatened to end negotiations because legislative staff didn't write exactly what it wanted.

It bothers me that companies and legislators are striking deals in secret when we’re supposed to have a system of open government.  Adding to the insult was a report by CBS that

Google Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit nearly tripled amid another burst of breathtaking growth that enabled the online search leader to sprint past analyst expectations…

The Mountain View-based company said Wednesday it earned $1.03 billion, or $3.29 per cents per share, during the final three months of 2006.

Google obviously isn’t hurting for money so why can’t they pay their fair share of taxes? And why can’t our legislators stop making these questionable deals in secret?

4 Comments

  1. John P

    February 1, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Google is a great company and can add jobs to NC when jobs are in need. Bad mouthing how the tax breaks doesnt do any good. It is standard practice for corporations to want to remain unknown when deciding on a new location. If word gets out prices they have to pay skyrockets on everything. Its no different from ordinary folks when they are buying a car or house. they want to work out a deal and get the best prices they can.

    The jobs will help a lot of folks in that area and bring income to the area and the state.

  2. John P

    February 1, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Google is a great company and can add jobs to NC when jobs are in need. Bad mouthing how the tax breaks were negotiated doesnt do any good. It is standard practice for corporations to want to remain unknown when deciding on a new location. If word gets out prices they have to pay skyrockets on everything. Its no different from ordinary folks when they are buying a car or house. they want to work out a deal and get the best prices they can.

    An interesting topic that should be debated is whether the state needs to or should give away all these breaks when the companies can afford to pay taxes and fees in the first place.

    The jobs will help a lot of folks in that area and bring income to the area and the state.

  3. aplum

    February 2, 2007 at 11:06 am

    John, I agree that Google is a good company and I admire their innovation, but I question the value North Carolina receives for its $100,000,000 incentive package. Google promises to create 200 jobs but according the Charlotte Observer

    [F]ew, if any, of the 3,400 unemployed people in Caldwell County are likely to get the Google jobs. The positions probably will require specialized education and skills lacking in this blue-collar community.

    In contrast the Statesville Record & Landmark reported

    A company that manufactures side curtain air bags for cars will create 200 jobs in Richmond County and invest $35 million during the next three years, the governor's office announced Thursday. The new jobs will include technicians, weavers and material handlers. The company received a $200,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, Easley said.

    Same number of jobs created at a fraction of the price. Why the huge difference? The Google negotiations took place in secret. If our legislators are going to give away public money to companies, there should be a public discussion.

  4. Dallas Woodhouse

    February 2, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Annette is right on. “Google” google and the words rip off should come up.