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Gov. Corbett gives employers millions

Pa. taxpayer grants to French, German, Nascar firms before vote

In the weeks before this fall's election for Governor of Pennsylvania, incumbent Tom Corbett is scattering millions of taxpayer dollars to big businesses through his Economic Growth Initative, a downsized version of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) matching grants that enriched developers under Gov. Rendell.

1) Yesterday Oct. 21, Corbett gave $3.5 million to help the developer (revised) of a new U.S. headquarters for French-owned building-materials maker St.-Gobain Co. move to a long-vacant office center East Whiteland Township. Corbett says these taxpayer dollars will be "supporting 2,600 good paying jobs," including temporary and secondary service jobs. St.-Gobain earned more than $600 million, after taxes, last year.

(How do we get to 2,600 jobs? As I reported in April, St-Gobain is moving 680 people to the site when it vacates locations in King of Prussia and Blue Bell, and might add 100 more over the next five years. Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni says the company is also moving 70 jobs up from Florida, expects hundreds of temporary construction jobs, and hopes for additional neighborhood jobs at restaurants and other supporting businesses. Developer Eli Kahn tells me he hopes to attract other companies and more jobs to the complex as well.)  

2) Last Friday Oct. 17, Corbett gave German-owned SAP AG $2 million to help pay for a $16 million data center upgrade at SAP's North American headquarters in Newtown Square, which employs over 2,000. The money will help buy a "600 ton chiller, a 600 ton cooling tower, a new emergency generator," new power supply and equipment air conditioning, and backup power and chiller systems, which will "create, support and retain more than 375 jobs in the Newtown Square area" and "become SAP North America's premier location for supporting cloud growth" and SAP's HANA database business, the state said. SAP earned more than $3 billion, after taxes, last year.

3) Also Friday, Corbett gave $1 million for "renovation and improvement" at the aging Pocono Raceway. "This project will help us highlight not just who we are, but allow us to help showcase the region, our geography," said raceway boss Brandon Igdalsky in a statement.