Schumer Uses Political Influence to Secure Funding for New York Chips Program

New York played host to a series of chip companies considering potential investments, particularly for the plot that Micron now plans to build on. TSMC looked at the site in 2019 before it chose Arizona, and Intel considered the same location but ultimately chose Ohio.

Micron was ready to write off New York because the state did not have a big enough site, Ryan McMahon, the local county executive, said. To win the final bid, the county spent tens of millions of dollars acquiring land, including buying out a street of homeowners, and running gas and electricity to the site, he said.

“If Schumer didn’t introduce us, it’s one of those things, you wonder if it ever would have happened,” Mr. McMahon, a Republican, said.

Mr. Schumer, along with other proponents, secured an investment tax credit in the chips legislation that Micron saw as key to making the economics of the project work. And at the urging of Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York state lawmakers passed their own chips subsidy bill to complement the federal one, approving up to $500 million a year in tax abatements to chip manufacturers.

Micron has said it plans to start construction next year and complete the first $20 billion phrase of the factory by 2030. New York State has promised to give Micron $5.5 billion in tax credits over the life of the project if the company meets certain employment targets.

As the biggest maker of memory chips with headquarters in the United States, Micron is seen as a likely candidate for a federal grant. But other developments have thrown the project into question: Micron has recently become the subject of a crackdown in China that could cost the company an eighth of its global revenues, potentially undercutting its ability to make ambitious investments.

The deal has also been met with skepticism from local government watchdogs, who fear that Micron will become the latest firm to be offered taxpayer subsidies but fail to deliver the promised economic impact.

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