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In Western New York, Yahoo is a Pay Site

by on September 22, 2010

Yahoo reminds me of 1995.  I was starting to learn how these internets worked thanks to the phone line-tying speed of a newly-acquired 14,400 BPS external modem, and I had been making the rookie mistake of futilely attempting to harvest web addresses so I could do something online aside from checking an email address nobody knew I had.  Inbox: empty again.

But everything changed once someone recommended a “search engine,” which you may be interested to learn allows users to find sites without having to know URLs.  I naturally gravitated toward Yahoo due to the fact it was the only option at the time that didn’t suck it hard.

The well-organized, seemingly endless trove of useless information they linked to set me on a course from which I have not recovered.  Hi, my name is Anthony, and I’m a browserholic.  I last surfed for junk right this second.

Looking for web stuff back before I knew for what I was looking for suddenly became a strange and brilliant experience enabled by seminal geeks who knew enough sites to categorize them.  I still cherish the unbridled excitement of coming across the Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches page for the first time.   The compellingly inane new frontier was suddenly at my doorstep.

By contrast, Yahoo in 2010 unfortunately embodies something revealing about how business gets done offline.  Their new Lockport data center is packed with servers, not to mention 100 full-time employees.  So, how much do those employees cost?

Even those who haven’t relied upon Yahoo for, oh, about 12 years are paying.  Specifically, taxpayers may get triply soaked depending upon how close they live to the new plant.  Yahoo is getting financial breaks up the wazoo from various governments.

First off, thank the relatively small percentage of American income-tax payers along with the Chinese for funding part of the data hive.  Yahoo is getting paid by the government for being part of the solution and acting locally while thinking globally:

The company received a $9.9 million sustainability grant from the U.S. Department of Energy — the largest award provided under the government’s Green IT grant program.

Why would you be opposed to Green anything, Earth-scorcher?  The Department of Energy is one more thing for which we should thank Jimmy Carter.  Mostly, we should be grateful for how he set a baseline bad presidential example.

As for lower-level incentives, a state which apes Washington’s desire to hand out as much of our money as it can wanted to ensure Yahoo’s lights never go off on account of some annoying high utilities bill.  The internet behemoth is getting cheap power from the Empire State in addition to its aforementioned corporate hippie grant:

In order to locate operations in Lockport, Yahoo! received various incentives including fifteen megawatts (MW) of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for Phase I.

In their defense, why should anyone have to pay for water falling off a cliff?  For consistency’s sake, the municipality housing the structure handed over a fat amenity, too. The absence of levies is as good as money in Old Man Yahoo’s pocket:

Lockport is offering a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) incentive that would include a 20-year tax break that would have Yahoo pay no property taxes for the first 10 years, then pay 20 percent more every two years after that. The deal would also include a sales tax exemption on all equipment purchases, an incentive which has been adopted by a number of states hoping to lure data centers.

That’s quite a pile of government cheese at everyone else’s expense.  Meddling in the free market costs the private sector a fortune.

Still, it’s not Yahoo’s fault that they’re accepting ample sacks with dollar signs on them.  The old school cyber juggernaut is taking whatever deal is available, specifically from a government that assures us we’ll have more money once they first spend what we already have.  If the company can get it, they’re going to grab it, regardless of what outsiders might think of the policy.

As for comparable transactions involving only public officials, the Yahoo inducement is reminiscent of Republican governors taking stimulus money: while they might not approve of the “free” money, many decided it would be best to get on the dole considering that their constituents paid in, not to mention that neighboring states are collecting.

Similarly, provocative gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s tax incentives merely serve as evidence that he’s proficient at doing business under conditions created by others, not that he’s only a rhetorical conservative.

Other developers would have taken what he didn’t.  Of course, he’ll get the chance to prove he’s willing to help set different rules if he can gain eight percentage points while Andrew Cuomo loses the same.

The personal equivalent applies, too.  Conservatives may be opposed to Social Security or Medicare on principle.  But they may as well reap benefits on account of how they invested involuntarily in the programs.

Obtuse snots label right-leaners’ willingness to partake in government programs into which they paid as hypocrisy; that’s when they’re not busy condemning Paul Ryan as an extremist for suggesting that people be allowed to maintain a modicum of control over their money.

But they’re just dealing with the system’s reality.  Of course, nothing will keep purposely unaware critics from claiming that Tea Partiers are zero-tax fanatics who are full of it for driving on public roads.  And, racists!

It’s the meddling structure itself that needs changing.  Letting the government control more money also means letting them control who gets it.  As a result, politicians and bureaucrats who shouldn’t be trusted to oversee a garbage bag full of empty beer and pop cans are given the authority to entice companies with personalized breaks.

By contrast, universally low tax rates would create optimal conditions for all businesses, including those who currently direct understandable jealousy toward those deemed worthy of receiving coupons by the government.  In reality, everyone is special, at least according to Sesame Street episodes I can recall.

Letting the private sector retain profits is only a problem for those who think the stimulus didn’t work because it was underfunded.  Besides, lower rates attract more companies, which in turn increases the revenue volume.  This state could learn so much from Target, and not just that Archer Farms chips are delicious.

Everyone is excited jobs are coming to town.  But save the true jubilation for when economic circumstances are so impeccable that we won’t need to bribe companies to settle here.

Reduced levies for all would ensure that there are ample businesses interested in setting up shop here, not to mention how it’s fairer than the government arbitrarily setting tax rates depending on how much they like each respective concern.  The prospect of flourishing conditions is as thrilling as discovering that the Beastie Boys had their own website.

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