The biggest tax breaks tech giants have cashed in on

Laurie Clarke
Laurie Clarke

Laurie Clarke

Laurie is a staff writer for IDG titles including Techworld, Computerworld UK and CIO UK. She studied psychology followed by a Masters in Journalism, and has since worked in marketing and as a freelance consumer insight writer. Her particular interests include consumer tech, startup tech culture and how technology is shaping society.

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Tech giants in the US, which are some of the world’s most profitable companies, are also some of the biggest beneficiaries of US government subsidies - having received close to $9.3 billion in state and local government money in the last five years.

And these subsidies seem to be getting more and more extravagant. The largest - totalling $4.8 billion - was recently granted to Foxconn, a Taiwanese company that manufactures iPhones, PlayStations and other electronics, for a vast new factory in Wisconsin (for those who remember, this is the company that installed suicide nets in its factories to dissuade employees from killing themselves in droves).  

The logic goes that the companies will create jobs and thus stimulate the local economy, but when the subsidies are so large it's unlikely the jobs created will ever be worth it. 

Good Jobs First, a non-profit watchdog that tracks government subsidies to business have documented over 400 'mega-deals' that totalled over $50 million. “The cost-benefit math never works on a deal like that, right?” Greg LeRoy, Director of Good Jobs First, told Techworld

Rather than placing this cash in the hands of billion dollar companies, states could instead be directing funds towards solving social problems like poverty and homelessness, improving infrastructure and schools, or building affordable housing. 

Drawing on data from Good Jobs First, we've rounded up the most egregious handouts tech companies have received to date.

Read next: San Francisco's homeless measure passed, but don't forget how Big Tech resisted

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