The United States of subsidies: The biggest corporate winners in each state

By Niraj Chokshi March 18, 2015

In late 2013, Washington state made history.

On a mid-November Monday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed into law the largest corporate tax break in any state’s history, with an estimated lifetime value of $8.7 billion. The package was the result of a special three-day session Inslee called in order to entice Boeing to build its 777X plane in the state. Boeing didn’t just score big that day. The aerospace giant has received more state and local subsidy dollars than any other corporation in America, according to newly released data compiled by Good Jobs First, a policy resource center on subsidy data.

The state subsidy data was released Tuesday in conjunction with similar federal data and a matching report—”Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations”—which reviews the grants, loans and other subsidies distributed by the federal government since 2000. Over the course of those 15 years, the federal government has distributed $68 billion in grants and special tax credits to businesses, with two thirds of that transferred to large corporations. Six companies have received $1 billion or more, while 21 have received $500 million or more.

“We now see that big business dominates federal subsidy spending the way it does state and local programs,” Philip Mattera, a co-author of the study, said in a press release.

The largest recipient of federal grants and tax credits was a Spanish energy company, Iberdrola, which received the federal subsidies by “investing heavily in U.S. power generation facilities,” Good Jobs First reports. The database, which the group touts as the first comprehensive accounting of federal subsidy awards, contains new records on more than 164,000 awards from 137 federal programs and expands on data collected by the group since 2010. The time period covered by the state and local data is less consistent.

Because open-records laws differ by state, the amount and extent of information obtained by Good Jobs First varies. Most is from the last 15 years, but some extends even further back, Mattera says. Of all the state and local subsidy dollars tracked, half went to the top 30 companies, led by Boeing. The aerospace giant alone has received $13 billion in subsidies. Chip-maker Intel and metal giant Alcoa each received nearly $6 billion. General Motors scored $3.7 billion and Ford secured $2.5 billion. All told, 19 large corporations have received at least $1 billion.

Some big corporations are also big double- and triple-dippers in federal and state funds.

Five corporations have achieved a trifecta, ranking among the 50 largest recipients of three kinds of funds: state subsidies; federal grants and tax credits; and federal loans, loan guarantees and bailout assistance. Those businesses, which Good Jobs First defines as the “most successful at obtaining subsidies from all levels of government” are Boeing, Ford Motor, General Electric, General Motors and JPMorgan Chase.

Another six—Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, NRG Energy, Sempra Energy, SolarCity and United Technologies—are among the top 50 recipients of state subsidies and federal grants. Goldman Sachs is among the largest recipients of state subsidies and federal loan assistance. Some businesses double-dipped in other ways, too. Of the hundred most profitable fedeeral contractors in the 2014 fiscal year, nearly half have received federal grants or tax credits since 2000.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of the largest recipient of subsidy dollars and the number of state and local subsidies they’ve received.

CORRECTION: Due to an error in the source material, an earlier version of the attached table inflated the value—$267 million—of the top subsidy in Alaska more than twofold. The state spent that amount to link a proposed Zinc mine to existing infrastructure, to be repaid by toll fees. The parent company that benefitted—Teck Resources—argues that those fees have more than covered the initial cost and the deal should be considered an investment.

Alaska Teck Resources $267,000,000 3
Alabama ArcelorMittal $1,073,000,000 1
Arkansas Big River Steel $139,500,000 1
Arizona Thomas J. Klutznick Co. $97,400,000 1
California Northrop Grumman $429,887,998 19
Colorado Starwood Property Trust $300,000,000 1
Connecticut United Technologies $400,000,000 1
District of Columbia Western Development Corp. $84,000,000 1
Delaware AstraZeneca $178,129,581 8
Florida Scripps Research Institute $545,000,000 1
Georgia Hyundai Motor $410,000,000 1
Hawaii Hawaiian Electric Industries $31,642 4
Iowa Orascom Group $251,000,000 1
Idaho Areva $276,000,000 1
Illinois Sears $531,717,810 9
Indiana General Motors $593,409,543 44
Kansas General Motors $417,866,917 6
Kentucky Toyota $551,883,698 30
Louisiana Sempra Energy $2,197,286,212 10
Massachusetts Energy Management Inc. $99,500,000 1
Maryland Dominion Resources $506,000,000 1
Maine General Dynamics $198,485,942 18
Michigan General Motors $1,989,982,174 114
Minnesota Delta Air Lines $838,000,000 1
Missouri Cerner $1,650,819,257 16
Mississippi Nissan $1,263,530,210 12
Montana DirecTV $2,415,000 2
North Carolina Apple $336,485,233 3
North Dakota Oaktree Capital Management $800,000 2
Nebraska ConAgra Foods $161,619,702 7
New Hampshire General Electric $268,119 3
New Jersey Prudential Financial $434,105,947 18
New Mexico Intel $2,659,370,233 41
Nevada Tesla Motors $1,287,000,000 1
New York Alcoa $5,600,376,849 13
Ohio Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $240,654,338 15
Oklahoma Weyerhaeuser $158,195,225 4
Oregon Intel $3,132,515,215 25
Pennsylvania Royal Dutch Shell $1,650,000,000 1
Rhode Island General Growth Properties $140,000,000 1
South Carolina Boeing $1,020,000,000 6
South Dakota Terex $2,205,000 1
Tennessee Volkswagen $818,800,000 11
Texas Berkshire Hathaway $802,720,000 29
Utah Micron Technology $171,061,598 5
Virginia Huntington Ingalls Industries $98,000,000 1
Vermont General Electric $13,322,120 8
Washington Boeing $11,945,527,815 52
Wisconsin Brunswick $123,000,000 2
West Virginia Cabela's $127,523,480 2
Wyoming Brain Farm Digital Cinema $96,935 1


GRAPHIC: Good Jobs First. Published March 17, 2015.