GE has announced it will pull out of its Fort Point headquarters plan and give back its massive subsidy package, according to the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto:
General Electric says it will reimburse the state for the massive incentive package that helped convince the company to move its headquarters here from Connecticut, as it looks to sell its future Fort Point headquarters property and scales back its ambitions.
The board of MassDevelopment — a quasi-public agency that owns part of the property — approved a plan on Thursday to jointly market the 2.7-acre site with GE. The sale proceeds will reimburse the agency for the $87.4 million in state money that has been used to acquire and prepare the Fort Point parcel.
GE, however, is not leaving Boston. The struggling company said it will still move into two brick buildings at Necco Court after renovations are completed, but won’t come close to creating the 800 jobs it originally promised.
Progressives had complained the GE subsidy could’ve been spent on more pressing needs and may have been superfluous. “Whether GE needed a publicly financed incentive to move to a high-technology and highly educated hub like Boston is debatable,” wrote the Tax Policy Center’s Megan Randall.
GE’s announcement comes on the same day Amazon canceled plans to locate 25,000 jobs in New York City, rejecting the $3 billion subsidy package officials had offered. Critics similarly complained the subsidy package was a waste of money to throw at a wildly profitable company in a city with an already-booming economy.
The collapse of these misguided deals is a lesson for local leaders: We should focus on making our communities great for the people who already live and work here, and economic growth will follow.
In the long run, losing GE is a ripple in Boston’s economic ocean. But failing to invest in transit and schools is the economic equivalent of global warming, generational neglect whose effects could be felt for decades to come.