Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations Identifying the Large Companies that Dominate Federal Subsidies
by Philip Mattera and Kasia Tarczynska, www.goodjobsfirst.org, March 2015 (excerpts)
Over the past 15 years, the federal government has provided $68 billion in grants and special tax credits to business, with two-thirds of the total going to large corporations.
During the same period, federal agencies have given the private sector hundreds of billions of dollars in loans, loan guarantees and bailout assistance, with the largest share going to major U.S. and foreign banks. These sums represent the portion of federal “corporate welfare” for which specific recipients can be identified.
These are among Good Jobs First’s key findings from the first comprehensive compilation of company specific federal subsidy data. We assembled more than 160,000 award records from 137 federal programs to expand our Subsidy Tracker database, which since 2010 has provided access to comparable data from states and localities. This upgrade is Subsidy Tracker version 3.0.
The federal data was enhanced with Good Jobs First’s proprietary subsidiary-parent matching system, enabling users to see individual entries linked to more than 1,800 corporate parents, along with each parent’s total subsidies.
Other key findings:
• Six parent companies have received $1 billion or more in federal grants and allocated tax credits (those awarded to specific companies) since 2000; 21 have received $500 million or more; and 98 have received $100 million or more. A group of 582 large companies account for 67 percent of the $68 billion total.
• The largest recipient of grants and allocated tax credits is the Spanish energy company Iberdrola, which acquired them by investing heavily in U.S. power generation facilities, including wind farms that have made use of a renewable energy provision of the 2009 Recovery Act providing cash payments in lieu of tax credits. Iberdrola’s subsidy total is $2.2 billion. Other top grant/ allocated tax credit recipients include NextEra Energy (parent of Florida Power & Light), NRG Energy, Southern Company, Summit Power and SCS Energy, each with more than $1 billion. The results exclude the numerous corporate tax breaks that cannot be attributed to individual companies.
The company with the largest total, $2.2 billion, is not a household name in the United States. The Spanish electric utility Iberdrola has invested heavily in U.S. power generation facilities, especially renewables. Starting with its 2006 purchase of Scottish Power and its North American subsidiary PPM Energy, Iberdrola has since expanded its wind portfolio to more than 40 projects from Southern California to New England. It now calls itself the second largest wind-energy operator in the United States.16
Many of the wind farms it acquired or built have taken advantage of a provision in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Section 1603) that allows companies to receive cash payments in lieu of tax credits for the installation of renewable energy properties.17 Section 1603 has awarded more than $23 billion to companies with U.S. and foreign parents.
NextEra Energy, the parent of Florida Power & Light and number two on the list, got about 90 percent of its grants from Section 1603; number three NRG Energy got about 80 percent. Three other companies in the top ten also received large amounts in Section 1603 funds: Tenaska ($132 million), Duke Energy ($473 million) and Exelon ($208 million). Tenaska, however, received an even greater sum from allocated tax credit programs that subsidize coal power projects. Coal grants and allocated tax credits also accounted for most of the funds received by three other top-ten companies: Southern, Summit Power and SCS Energy.
These programs represent only a portion of the financial support the federal government provides to the energy industry....
#2 NextEra Energy $1,938,811,949 in Federal Grants & Allocated Tax Credits
#13 SunEdison (builds solar farms in Hawaii) $649,564,635 in Federal Grants & Allocated Tax Credits
#19 AES (runs coal-fired plant on Oahu) $566,920,950 in Federal Grants & Allocated Tax Credits
read ... Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations
PBN: NextEra Energy received $2B in federal subsidies, new report says