10 States Giving Huge Companies More Welfare Money Than the Poor

When it comes to welfare, there are some lies floating around. There are misconceptions about who receives welfare, how much money people get, and what they spend their money on. When it comes to John Q. Public, the numbers aren’t too hard to figure out. When it comes to huge multinational companies, the picture gets a bit more muddled.

For instance, the average monthly welfare benefit is about $400. In 2012, about 52.2 million people received welfare checks each month. Over the course of a year, that equates to nearly $25.1 billion. It’s a lot of money, but it’s not even close to the welfare money giant corporations receive in the form of tax breaks, grants, and other subsidies.

Companies headquartered in the United States have received close to $162 billion in subsidies since 2010. That’s according to the subsidy tracker at the website Good Jobs First. So, the biggest moochers in America aren’t people on welfare but huge corporations getting billions of dollars. We’ll count down from No. 10 to the No. 1 state that gives out a shocking amount of corporate welfare.

10. North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

The tech sector is growing in North Carolina. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $5,545,502,082
  • Notable recipients: Apple, Dell, Alphabet Inc., Spirit AeroSystems
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $4.6 billion

Apple, Dell, and Google parent company Alphabet Inc. are tech industry giants. North Carolina is one of the states with an emerging and growing tech sector (and Raleigh is fighting to house Amazon’s new headquarters), so it’s not surprising to see it make the list. Though North Carolina has given billions of dollars in subsidies to huge corporations, no company has taken more than $400 million.

Next: Huge companies are shown the love in this state.

9. Missouri

St. Louis

Cerner Healthcare is the biggest recipient with $1.66 billion. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $5,819,917,161
  • Notable recipients: Cerner Healthcare, McEagle Properties, DST Systems, H&R Block
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $1.8 billion

Missouri is known as the Show-Me State, and it certainly hasn’t hesitated showing big companies some love. It’s awarded more than 4,000 subsidies, with Cerner Healthcare the big recipient with $1.66 billion. DST Systems, an IT service management company, has the highest number of subsidies given: 41 awarded for nearly $380 million.

Next: A state that’s extremely friendly to the Fortune 500

8. Oregon

view of Mount Hood

Intel received $3.13 billion in subsidies from Oregon. | Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $7,047,232,475
  • Notable recipients: Intel, Nike, Alphabet Inc., Amazon
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $3.1 billion

Intel and Nike are major benefactors of corporate welfare in Oregon. Intel, which is actually headquartered in California, has hit up Oregon for $3.13 billion in subsidies, more than half of the nearly $6 billion state and local subsidies it has received nationwide. Nike has gobbled up more than $2 billion, while Google parent company Alphabet Inc. and Amazon are also on the dole. The above companies received the most money from subsidies, but Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. were awarded the most subsidies (32) among the top 10.

Next: Energy companies and automakers rake it in from this state.

7. Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Clean Coal Power is the top corporate recipient in Kentucky. | toddtaulman/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $8,011,040,440
  • Notable recipients: Clean Coal Power Operations, Toyota, Peabody Energy, Ford
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $1.9 billion

It took just one 2008 tax credit of $550 million to make Clean Coal Power the top corporate welfare recipient in Kentucky. Peabody’s two tax credits total $266 million. But when it comes to reaching into the state’s coffers and taking money, Toyota and Ford have gone to the till again and again. Toyota took a 2013 tax credit worth $146.5 million and the same year took another subsidy worth just as much, which make up a bulk of the $424 million the company has taken from the state. Ford is no stranger to the game, grabbing 106 subsidies worth $260.8 million.

Next: One company here has collected 157 breaks from the state.

6. Indiana

Indianapolis skyline at sunset

General Motors has received $887 million in subsidies. | RudyBalasko/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $8,884,160,178
  • Notable recipients: General Motors, Michelin, Community Health Systems, United Continental
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $3 billion

General Motors has received multiple property tax abatements from Indiana (and others) since 2003, which adds up to a whopping $887 million in subsidies. Yet it’s Community Health Systems that is really taking advantage of corporate welfare in the Hoosier State. It’s been awarded 157 subsidies, and between 2006 and 2013 it snatched up $174,306,580 in property tax abatements.

Next: A ton of subsidies add up to a whopping total in our next state.

5. New Jersey

The skyline and Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic City, New Jersey

JPMorgan Chase and Prudential are the top recipients. | AppalachianViews/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $10,666,506,163
  • Notable recipients: JPMorgan Chase, Prudential Financial, Triple Five Worldwide, Revel AC
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $6.5 billion

New Jersey has handed out more than 14,000 corporate subsidies, which is also No. 5 overall. JPMorgan Chase and Prudential are the biggest welfare recipients at $435 million and $434 million, respectively. Triple Five Worldwide, which operates mega malls, such as Mall of America, claimed a $390 million tax rebate in 2013. A $261 million tax credit in 2011 couldn’t save the now-closed Revel hotel and resort in Atlantic City.

Next: One mammoth corporation fleeces this next state.

4. Washington

Seattle market

Boeing has received billions from the state. | Mark Ralson/AFP/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $13,931,209,093
  • Notable recipients: Boeing, Orca Bay Seafoods, Microsoft, National Frozen Foods
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $4.2 billion

Orca Bay, Microsoft, and National Frozen Foods are the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 corporate welfare recipients in Washington. But their combined $592,660,898 in subsidies don’t even come close to Boeing’s haul. Boeing struck billion-dollar deals with Washington in 2003 and 2013 and has claimed several multi-million-dollar tax credits since 2013. The $12.29 billion in welfare the company has received from the state accounts for 88% of Washington’s total.

Next: Corporate handouts are freely given in our next location.

3. Michigan

Autumn in Traverse City, Michigan

Car companies receive the most corporate welfare in Michigan. | garyrennis/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $14,169,772,101
  • Notable recipients: General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, DowDuPont
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $5 billion

It should come as no surprise that car companies are raking it in from Michigan’s corporate welfare. State and local handouts in 2009 added up to $2.33 billion for General Motors, a majority of the $3.23 billion is has taken from the state. The two following years it was similar cases for Ford and Fiat Chrysler, but it’s hard to blame them for taking what is freely given. Michigan has handed out more than 17,000 subsidies since 1975. Boeing in Washington is the No. 1 corporate welfare recipient in the land, but GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler are Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

Next: Huge breaks lure outside companies.

2. Louisiana

Venice, Louisiana, dock

Out-of-state companies receive the most corporate welfare from Louisiana. | Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $22,519,512,001
  • Notable recipients: Cheniere Energy, Sempra Energy, Venture Global LNG, Sasol
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $2.1 billion

Here’s something interesting: None of the top five companies taking welfare in Louisiana are actually from there, and they all claim $1 billion or more. Cheniere ($3.29 billion) and No. 5 Energy Transfer ($1.33 billion) are both based in Texas. Sempra ($3.03 billion) calls California home, Venture Global ($1.86 billion) is in Washington, D.C., and Sasol ($1.84 billion) is headquartered in South Africa.

Next: It’s time to visit the king of them all.

1. New York

Taxi and limousine driving along the Brooklyn Bridge

New York gives billions more to corporations than residents. | LSP1982/iStock/Getty Images

  • Amount given to corporations: $33,300,272,459
  • Notable recipients: Alcoa, Mubadala Technology, IBM, Pyramid Companies
  • Welfare paid to citizens: $20 billion

The Empire State is the ruler of them all when it comes to cutting corporate welfare checks (in the metaphorical sense). That isn’t hard to do when you award more than 124,000 subsidies since 1980. Alcoa aluminum struck a deal in 2007 that led to $5.6 billion. Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala and homegrown behemoth IBM both get more than $1 billion, and New York real estate company Pyramid struck a $600 million deal in 2002. And that’s how you get a state handing out corporate welfare that outstrips the welfare paid to citizens by more than 50%.

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