In Buffalo, a $250 million pharmaceutical research facility is being built. Last month, a $100 million solar-energy research and manufacturing center was announced in Rochester.This all sounds very hopeful . . . but you have to dig deep to figure out what this is costing the taxpayers.
And in June, construction started on a $500 million computer chip commercialization center in Utica.
All of it is the offshoot of SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, the wildly successful research hub that has 3,000 employees and $17 billion in public and private investment. . . .
A half hour north of Albany, GlobalFoundries, aided by $1.3 billion in state money, has a booming semiconductor chip manufacturing plant — a spinoff from the nanocenter’s research.According to an article this past week in The (Albany) Business Review, that plant has created 2100 jobs. Do the math: That's almost $620,000 per job!
The Rochester article describes the Utica commercialization project as "a $500 million venture with the goal of 900 jobs." That's $555,000 per job! A photovoltaic center in Rochester is described as a $100 million facility with $65 million being from the private sector. That means $35 million is from public funding for a mere 100 jobs or $350,000 per job.
To be fair, all this "investing" may be setting the stage for future growth. The Albany article linked above reveals that Global Foundaries is planning to install a SECOND fab in Malta. And there are rumors about town that there is an actual company interested in our own Marcy Nanocenter to the point where an actual proposal can be incorporated into OC's wetland's permit. These are all signs of potentially good things on the horizon that hopefully will come to fruition.
But, with the seemingly good news, we still do not know the real costs. The ones mentioned above are only for state money. What about local "investments?" Oneida County taxpayers are bearing the highest sales tax outside of Manhattan apparently for "economic development" purposes. As noted in past posts, Greater Utica sewer users are being tapped in their sewer fees to expand facilities for "economic development." One suspects that Herkimer County residents and businesses along West Canada Creek will be paying a price in diminished creek flows (which has an economic consequence for some) for such development since the local Nanocenter was a consideration in the Water Authority - Canal Corporation settlement that was brought about WITHOUT a formal environmental impact study and statement. Will "success" in attracting government-sponsored private sector investment become an excuse to take even more from taxpayers?
What is the cost in NON-state-subsidized-government-beholden-nano-tech jobs that are being squeezed out of NYS by the state's policies to foster nanotech? You cannot give $billions from the taxpayers to one industry sector without it harming others.