Biting the Hand that Hosts Us: Google in the Candy Store


Since Google owns Blogspot, what better way to launch our blog than to remind readers that Google, its “do no evil” slogan notwithstanding, is in the business of pitting states against each other to see who will give the biggest subsidies.

As Business Week documented in the case of Lenoir, North Carolina, (and as we reported early in Eye in Subsidies) Google shopped a server farm using a site location consultant, amassing property tax abatements, a state utility tax exemption (those servers use a lot of juice!), infrastructure, and land assembly assistance (cobbling together 51 parcels) that included paying for one couple’s divorce to clear the title.

Total estimated subsidies: $212 million — more than $ 1 million per job!

“There were 18 or 20 drafts of contracts, a lot of ticky-tacky stuff,” T.J. Rohr, an attorney and member of Lenoir’s city council told Business Week. “And a lot of the time it seemed like they were saying, ‘It’s our way or the highway.'”

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