Saturday, February 03, 2007

So much for "Don't be evil."

Google Used Heavy-Handed Tactics In Molding N.C. Incentives Package

POSTED: 10:43 am EST February 1, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Google Inc. tried to silence North Carolina lawmakers and used heavy-handed lobbying tactics to help mold its own $100 million package of business incentives, according to records released this week.

While the General Assembly worked last year on tax breaks that would save Google millions of dollars on a new data center in Caldwell County, the search engine behemoth demanded that lawmakers never speak its name, according to e-mail records.

"I sort of had to work in the dark," said Sen. Jim Jacumin, R-Caldwell. "That bothered me. They need to respect the laws of the land, even if they're business."

A spokesman for Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

Records show that the company was often agitated by the legislative process. Google executives threatened to walk away from the negotiating table and asked Commerce Secretary Jim Fain to exercise his power over the bill writing process.

"I always believed North Carolina to be a good state in which to do business," Google executive Rhett Weiss wrote to Fain in June. "But the legislation's long saga increasingly concerns us. Will creating and operating a North Carolina facility continue to be so hassle-prone?"

Weiss added, "Without the legislation being passed with its correct substance, our project will not proceed in North Carolina."

Lawmakers had been working to approve a measure that eliminates sales tax on electricity and equipment used by Internet computer centers.

Critics have complained that the state is offering too much in trying to lure jobs and investment. Though Google will invest $600 million in the Lenoir facility, it will only create about 200 jobs with the $100 million incentive package.

New Blogger SUCKS.

Good thing I'm not payin' for this.


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