According to a recent report by watchdog group Good Jobs First and the union federation UNI Global Union, Amazon has amassed a total of $4.7 billion in subsidies around the world since 2012. Even though this is a sizable number, the tech giant doesn't even make the top 8 when it comes to last year's biggest subsidies. Its tech and media competitors, on the other hand, do as our chart shows.
Leading the pack in government subsidies is automaker Ford, which received $1.3 billion in funding from Kentucky and Tennessee for planning to build electric vehicle and battery plants in the corresponding states. While these plants do lead to new jobs in the area, the need for government subsidies in such a relevant and well-funded sector can be called into question, especially with Ford rebounding from a comparatively weak 2020 to $136 billion in revenue and $17 billion in net income in 2021. Electronics manufacturer Samsung comes in second with a total of $1.2 billion in various tax rebates and grants rewarded by the state of Texas, the city of Austin and the Taylor School District in exchange for building a chip fabrication plant in the area. Other tech and media companies with net incomes in the billions like Apple, Disney and Oracle are also featured on the top list with projects like R&D centers, relocations of corporate offices and office campuses netting them hundreds of millions in tax abatements, grants and other government funding.
As evidenced by publicly available data collected by Good Jobs First, courting large companies with subsidies has a huge effect on the tax revenue flow in the corresponding state and local governments. Analysis of 37 of the 50 U.S. states shows a total loss in taxes of $8.4 billion in 2020 alone, with New York, Texas and Florida offering up the most money to make their state more attractive to big corporations. The data does have its limitations, though: Not all states disclose their subsidies, and local grants and abatements are not comparable with previous years due to the unfeasibility of complete data collection.