Thursday, July 17, 2008

MillerCoors Merger: Chicago New Home for Beer Behemoth

-99 Bottles of Swill on the Wall-

Chicago, IL (AP) Bottoms up, everybody! MillerCoors, the newly merged entity forged between Miller Brewing and Coors Brewing—has announced it will locate its new headquarters along with an expected headcount of 300-400 employees to downtown Chicago. Roll out the barrels, DraftFCB! Let’s drink to the proposed River North location!

So how much taxpayer money courtesy The Department of Commerce (better known as Rod's Goodie bag) did Blago dispense on the beer behemoth’s invite to the Windy City? Here’s how much. With substantial state and local subsidies, MillerCoors reportedly was pledged $18 million in state assistance, including $17.5 million in corporate income tax credits (over 15 years), a $500,000 grant for capital improvements, and $325,000 for employee training. The City of Chicago will provide between $2.5 million to $5 million in tax increment financing, depending on which of the three downtown Chicago sites offered the company is selected.

Plenty of rumors and intrigue may be swirling and hurling as Mayor Daley and other leaders cite major gain for the region’s economy, but the deal has raised a cloud of suspicion about the role of public subsidies in business location decisions.

Why Chicago? One unidentified, completely shit-faced former trader overheard an imaginary, completely off-the-wall, unidentified insider hallucinate at a seedy Michigan Ave. watering hole called Spiaggia Cafe that Chicago's "access to an attractive base of talent (doublespeak for more hot ladies and metrosexuals per sq. mile than Milwaukee), transportation (code for “try finding a freakin’ train that runs after midnight in Golden”) and business resources (here it is again…access to Rod’s Goodie Bag!!) made the Dallas location look like a "twist off top" compared to Chicago!

With Chicago landing MillerCoors at a price of over $20 million in state and city subsidies, another question in economic development circles is raised as high as the glass in your hand: Would it have come here anyway, even without an aid package?

The high life: Why does 150,000 square foot of office space (approx. cost $30M to build) and 400 management and senior management jobs for a company which is wildly profitable, merit $25.5M in tax give-aways? More corporate welfare at taxpayer expense? We don't know! But we DO LOVE beer!



Citizen Carrie said...

The whole thing is just so disgusting. I'm sure MillerCoors could have found a headquarters somewhere just fine without all of the sweetener in the pot. Or better yet, just let them work out of portable classrooms for a while.

2Truthy said...

Q. How many square feet of beer brewing, overpaid managers does it take to ferment (oops did I mean "foment") a beer company?


TheGaySwami said...

Ah, the sweet smell of subsidization comes to a HEAD!