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Virgin America Rakes in Most State Subsidies in San Mateo County

Five cents of every dollar in the state budget goes to incentive programs in California, a new study by the New York Times shows.

Lucrative local government incentives total $4.17 billion annually in California and the state's booming agriculture industry receives the largest chunk of that funding, according to a study done by the New York Times.

That's a far cry from the $19.1 billion in subsidies doled out in Texas, the state with the most robust incentive programs, but still amounts to 5 cents of every dollar in the California state budget, the data collected by the NYT showed.

The leading kinds of incentives in California were corporate income tax credits, rebates or reductions, at $2.29 billion, followed by other income tax breaks ($1.44 billion) and sales tax refunds or exemptions ($386 million), according to the NYT.

The top incenvites by industry ranked agriculture No. 1 with $208 million. The film industry recevied $191 million and tech ranked third with $105 million.

A small chunk of the subsidy pie comes to San Mateo County. Local companies received just almost $9.2 million in incentive program funding in the past 10 years, according to the NYT data.

The largest subsidy in all of San Mateo County went toward Virgin America The corporation took in two grants between 2008 and 2010 worth a total of $7.98 million. The second highest recipient was security systems company Tyco Internaional, which got over $308,000 in "free services" from 2005 to 2009.

See the top 10 recipients of subsidies in San Mateo County below.

Incentive Programs Amount Company Type of Grant # of Grants Years Received $7.98 million Virgin America Free Services 2 2008-2010 $308,131 Tyco International Free Services
2 2005-2009 $263,798 Primus Transportation Company Free Services 1 2004 $173,677 WL Butler Construction Free Services 1 2005 $127,679 Fisher Asset Management Free Services 1 2007 $94,324 Opportunities Industrialization Center West Free Services 2 2002-2010 $90,485 Gimbal Brothers Inc. Free Services 2 2008-2010 $54,352 Nurserymen's Exchange Inc. Free Services 1 2005 $28,059 San Mateo County Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Free Services 1 2010 $21,858 Envivio Inc Free Services 1 2009
NBH December 06, 2012 at 05:33 PM
For companies like Virgin, are these grants disclosed in their financial statements? That company has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in several years -- does this mean their 'actual' losses would have been higher without the grants? Were these for free rent at the airport -- which gives them a competitive 'edge' at the airport, or something else?

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