Vermont’s Corporate Crush That Just Won’t Quit.

Those “Gazelles” BP wrote about?  The second herd is lining up at the trough, and once again, Frank Cioffi is the maitre d’.

Responding to rumors that Vermont’s biggest corporate gimme machine, IBM,  is about to take its much diminished business elsewhere,  Mr. Cioffi and the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation are proposing that Vermont shovel another $4.5 million into Big Blue’s gaping maw.

And that’s not all!

The full menu, per the Burlington Free Press:

• Grant $4.5 million from the Vermont Enterprise Fund to IBM campus ownership in support of the local workforce and campus infrastructure. Cioffi pointed out that the money would be available only after July 1, and it is Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision, in consultation with the Legislature, how to deploy the dollars.

• Fund and support the various workforce training programs available in the state and rebuild the “highly successful” manufacturing and technician training partnership between Vermont Technical College and IBM.

• Identify a “public entity buyer” for the IBM campus wastewater treatment facility and other campus infrastructure, using state and federal resources to acquire and subsidize operating costs, as the IBM infrastructure is “the most significant in our state.” Cioffi believes this is important regardless of whether IBM continues to own the facility, as other manufacturers could benefit from the infrastructure.

• Engage a statewide action team on IBM immediately, led by Shumlin and including the state’s most experienced economic development professionals. GBIC recommends Commerce Secretary Patricia Moulton to lead the team for the governor.

• Form a regional-level team to work with the state team that includes Cioffi and the executive directors or presidents of Franklin County Industrial Development Corp., the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Chittenden County. Cioffi also recommended the regional team include municipal leaders from Essex Junction, Essex and Williston and board members of GBI

That’s right; the plan is to rain so much money and public payroll hours on IBM that they just have to give us one last dance.  It’s what we do!

But let us not forget what Cioffi said just days ago about li’l ol’ Vermont’s realistic expectations of outbidding other locations for Keurig’s affections:

(when asked) if the State of Vermont through VEGI had the ability economically to compete with other states and nations. “Probably not” said Cioffi, but he supports VEGI spending.

Could we expect anything else with regard to Vermont’s #1 corporate crush? Probably not.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

11 thoughts on “Vermont’s Corporate Crush That Just Won’t Quit.

  1. … IMO, is the notion of a public entity acquiring the plant’s wastewater treatment and infrastructure. That strikes me as a big fat blank check that could far outweigh the $4.5 million gubernatorial slush fund.

    In a bit of good news, or smidge of common sense, Governor Shumlin isn’t ready to commit his private stash:

    Shumlin says it’s too early to release money from the newly created job-retention fund. And he’s left open the door to using the money for purposes other than retaining the approximately 4,000 jobs at the IBM facility.

    The Governor would be well advised to keep his hand firmly on that particular wallet, and spend the money ONLY if the plant’s owner can give concrete, measurable commitments to job retention. Otherwise, it’s down the IBM rat hole.  

  2. I think it is outrageous that their so-called “Enterprise Fund” is simply another cash infusion for a company that is clearly packing its bags even as they take the money.  There’s no mention of any strings attached.

    4.5 mil is peanuts to a company like IBM; but it’s real, enabling investment for some new entrepreneur who will make a commitment to growing her/his business right here in Vermont.

    Handing IBM another 4.5 mil is as if Vermont’s giving a golden parachute to a departing CEO.

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