In an extraordinary investigative report this week, The [Memphis] Commercial Appeal discovered that the state of Tennessee promised Electrolux much more in subsides than it officially announced and that the offer came with an explicit “no clawback or recapture” provision. The newspaper reports that in addition to the officially announced $153.6 million subsidy package, property tax breaks and local grants and loans increased the total to $188.3 million. With 1,240 projected jobs, that’s almost $152,000 per job.
Daniel Connolly and Amos Maki, The Commercial Appeal reporters, made impressive use FOIA to obtain internal emails, contracts, and public documents that revealed many of the hidden subsides and decisions made “by a handful of people working in secret.”
With the clawback-free agreement, Electrolux is free to fall short on jobs or leave town. And Tennessee swims against the tide: Good Jobs First is not seeing a trend towards more clawback-free deals. (We will be releasing a new 50-state survey on clawbacks late this year.)