All your Instagram photos, Netflix streams, eBay accounts—basically everything you do online—remains easily accessible to you because of massive data centers around the country that store all that information. Over the last decade, state and local governments have come to view these facilities as a chance to resuscitate economies starving for jobs in an increasingly automated world. To land them in their jurisdictions, governments throw huge amounts of money at the tech companies that own these data centers.
A new report by Good Jobs First, "Money Lost to the Cloud: How Data Centers Benefit from State and Local Government Subsidies," examines what taxpayers are getting out of these deals. The picture isn't pretty. Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft—among the richest corporations in the world—have received jaw-dropping handouts in exchange for very few jobs created. The report highlighted eleven examples of tax giveaways gone wild, and, wouldn't you know it, two of them—including the most uneven of all, in Maiden—occurred right here in the Old North State, both cases in which taxpayers are spending more than a million dollars for each job created.