Mother Jones Reveals State Subsidies to Gun Companies

(courtesy thetrace.com)

Mother Jones’ article How America’s Gun Manufacturers Are Quietly Getting Richer Off Taxpayers bemoans the state subsidies (grants, tax abatements, job creation incentives, etc.) handed out to gun companies relocating their factories to gun-friendly, right-to-work states. Well they would, wouldn’t they? Although MJ notes that “Southern states have long relied on financial and regulatory incentives to attract manufacturers from more industrialized parts of the country,” to say the anti-gun publication is offended by the gunmakers’ financial sweeteners would be an understatement. Here’s their list of hand-outs . . .

Sturm Ruger,  Southport, Connecticut
Move:  In 2014, the nation’s largest gun company opened a new factory in Mayodan, North Carolina, instead of expanding an existing factory in New Hampshire.
Subsidy: $15.5 million in state tax breaks, employee training, infrastructure construction, and other incentives. The company has also received $150,288 in training subsidies from New Hampshire.

Berretta USA, Accokeek, Maryland
Move: The Italian gun maker last year closed its Maryland plant and moved all US production to a massive factory in Gallatin, Tennessee.
Subsidy: The company will receive $10.41 million in state-funded building improvements and job training grants. The town of Gallatin also kicked in land and tax abatements worth nearly $4 million.

Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Move: Publicly traded Smith & Wesson announced in 2010 that it would move its hunting rifle division from New Hampshire to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Subsidy: $6.6 million in state and local tax breaks. The company has also received $158,791 in worker-training subsidies from Massachusetts.

Colt’s Manufacturing, Hartford, Connecticut
Move: In 2011 Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced a deal in which the 180-year-old gun company would open a factory in Kissimmee, saying it showed the state was “a defender of our right to bear arms.” But then Colt walked away from the project for unknown reasons. The company declared bankruptcy last year.
Subsidy: $1.66 million in state and local incentives. Government officials are now trying to claw back the money.

O.F. Mossberg & Sons, North Haven, Connecticut.
Move: The world’s largest manufacturer of pump-action shotguns has gradually shifted manufacturing from Connecticut to a factory in Eagle Pass, Texas. In 2014, it added 116,000 square feet to the factory, which now accounts for 90 percent of its production.
Subsidy: A $300,000 grant in 2014 from the taxpayer-funded Texas Enterprise Fund.

Kimber Manufacturing, Elmsford, New York
Move: America’s largest manufacturer of 1911 pistols hasn’t moved out of New York—at least not yet. In 2012 the company warned that the state’s NY SAFE gun control law might “cause it to reconsider its current expansion.”
Subsidy: In 2009, Kimber received a $700,000 state grant to expand its manufacturing capacity in Yonkers. In 2012 and 2013, it received nearly $300,000 in local tax credits.

Interestingly, wallethub.com lists Idaho — not on MJ’s list — as America’s most firearms industry dependent state. Turns out the Gem State has at least 180 firearms and ammunition makers followed on that tally by other states not mentioned above: Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Minnesota. Seems the firearms industry is a job engine throughout the U.S. Who knew?

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    Usually, I don’t favor corporate welfare. However, if Mother Jones hates it, I love it.

    1. avatar Brentonadams says:

      If I’m going to subsidize something it might as well be guns.. I’m doing it already anyway

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      Exactly – liberal welfare polices that liberals love – all up until the moment a gun manufacturer uses them – then it’s “gun manufacturer’s are getting richer off taxpayers.”

      1. avatar BDub says:

        No body has ever accused progressives of having a sense of irony.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Or sense.

    3. avatar James says:

      That’s exactly the reasoning “They” use when handing out housing subsidies to single, unwed, lesbian, half-black/half-indian mothers (just to name one random example). If some welfare is OK, then all welfare is OK.

      You either want your government in the business of income redistribution or you don’t. There is no right vs. wrong, there is no middle ground.

    4. avatar 16V says:

      $12MM? That’s like a fraction of a football team, in one market.

      More importantly that’s an eeentsie weentsie, teeny tiny, wafffer thin slice of the $6.2B that Wal-Mart paying poverty wages costs the taxpayer…

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/15/report-walmart-workers-cost-taxpayers-6-2-billion-in-public-assistance/#61ac92d67cd8

      $12MM is the dozen Walmarts within 30 minutes of my house.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        erratum: ~$32MM as opposed to $12MM. Brain fade and such…

      2. avatar CB says:

        Great point regarding the article on Walmart. This is the factor so many people just can’t seem to wrap their heads around. When someone makes below a living wage, the difference will be paid by the rest of us one way or the other. That may be in the form of higher taxes, or degrading infrastructure, or simply higher crime and lower quality of life. The only difference is whether you can connect the dots.

  2. avatar Robb says:

    Obviously, MJ has not looked into other industries subsidies. Otherwise they would be shocked at that too.

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      Yeah, I’m sure MJ is hard at work finding fault with the laughable “Start-Up NY” tax incentive program.

      /sarc

    2. avatar Benny the Jew says:

      That was my thought. How much did Solyndra alone get from the gov’t, before going under without having to repay a dime?

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        One-half of one BILLION dollars.

        $500,000,000…

      2. avatar BDub says:

        Reason commissioned a study on the costs and impacts of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act = the Act under which all the green energy subsidies were handed out. Billions handed out in guaranteed loans and subsidies to companies with bad credit ratings and little prospects of success, all on the tax-payer dime.

        Go the the appendix on page 20 of the document. http://reason.org/files/green_electric_dreams.pdf

        Enjoy.

    3. avatar beefeater says:

      How much assistance did GlobalFoundries get from New York to move their fab here? Somewhere in the billions, if I recall correctly.

  3. avatar passthebrass says:

    Tax breaks aren’t the only reason gun companies are moving the hell out of the northeast.

  4. avatar Hello World says:

    If there were to be a civil war again (though methinks it’d be south, midwest, & Arizona, NM, Idaho, Montana as the “south” combatents) vs the “north”, the “south” part would win easily.

    1. avatar Publius says:

      Especially since the “north” would be split in half (really the East Coast and Northern-half of the West Coast + Illinois versus the rest of the country) and most food is produced in the Midwest / South.

      1. avatar MeRp says:

        Northern half of the West coast? I don’t think so. California IS the southern half of the West coast. I’m pretty sure it is unpredictable what portions of the west coastal states would side with which side; it kind of depends on the catalyzing issues. I think, however, that you would find that, for issues around guns, only The I-5 corridor (and not even all of it) in OR and WA and then San Fran Bay area south in CA would probably fall ont he side of “we hate your freedom and want you to obey.”

        1. avatar 16V says:

          There was a great piece of art in the Ken Burns style maybe 10-ish years ago about a battle between NorCal and SoCal. Can’t remember the name, but it was a series of paintings and narration ala US Civil War.

          Having spent 4 years in NorCal and a year or so in SoCal, I guarantee somewhere right around Bakersfield where things, well, change

    2. avatar Jeremy says:

      I wouldn’t be “North vs South” but more along the lines of “Coasts vs Middle America”

      1. avatar Anon in CT says:

        Middle has all the land-based ICBMs.

        The coasts have all the SLBMs.

        Let’s not do this.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Tacticals are sprinkled all over the place, with a sizable percentage on (allegedly) friendly foreign soil…

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      Wouldn’t be geographical this time. Would be a “REAL” civil war with the normal people vs the progtards. IE REALLLLLY ugly.

  5. avatar Patrick says:

    If there is an industry where this DOESN’T happen, I’d be quite surprised.

  6. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

    This is the same old thing that has been happening for years in places like CT,CA,NY where the taxes and business climate have driven out all of the manufacturing to places like TX,TN,AZ. Thoes places have just done the incentivising to attract even more businesses. Big companies, small companies, and everything in between look at their balance sheets and see the big picture so they pack up and leave.

  7. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    So incentives in whatever form for companies you support is a good thing and to be applauded.

    Incentives in whatever form for companies you don’t like is horrible and must be stopped.

    If not for the double standard would they have any at all?

  8. avatar Pope Gray says:

    I find it very interesting that some of the largest gun manufacturers are STILL in some of the most anti-gun states.

    I wonder how often day to day operations are interrupted due to constant protesting . . .

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I find it very interesting that some of the largest gun manufacturers are STILL in some of the most anti-gun states.”

      It takes skilled people to make quality firearms. Before the states went full-stupid, that where the gunmakers were…

  9. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    Remove the word “gun” from the title of the article, and it would be just as accurate. States want the jobs, so they give concessions to manufacturers/corporations to entice them to relocate. Doesn’t really matter what product they make/sell. Implying that somehow it’s JUST gun manufacturers is obtuse in the extreme.

  10. avatar Nelson says:

    While grants are obviously subsidies, as per usual, the commies are clueless on econ: tax breaks are NOT subsidies.

    And frankly, gunnies should stop giving patronage to #CorporatistTerrorist fucks whose primary customers are the #GovtTerrorists, ie: Colt, who DESERVE to go bankrupt, along with HK, et al.

    Stop supporting Vichy collaborator #Quislings.

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Tax breaks are subsidies.

      Whether the government writes a check to a company, a subsidy, or gives that company a Groupon redeemable against their tax liability, a tax break, the effect is the same: a given amount of money now resides in the company’s coffers that would otherwise have been in the government’s account.

      That a subsidy is a direct payment to a company and a tax break is relief from a financial obligation, is a distinction without a difference. Money is fungible. Getting a check for a given amount is equivalent to no longer having to pay that same amount you otherwise would have had to pay.

      Now, if you want to argue the technical difference between the two, go ahead, but it’s irrelevant. The effect is the same, so let’s just dispense with “subsidy” and “tax break” and just refer to them as “government freebies”, which captures their essence.

      1. avatar MeRp says:

        The subsidy effect of a tax break is, however, limited by the recipient’s tax liability. For example, if a government in the US wanted to subsidize a church, it would not be able to use a tax break to do so, since they have no tax liability. Similarly, subsidizing behavior (or just existing) among low income people by using tax breaks doesn’t work; you must use actual subsidies (aka tax credits); since they have little or no tax liability, a tax break would do them very little or no good.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        Thanks Bernie – Letting an individual or company KEEP their own property and resources, rather than giving it to government socialists, is NOT a subsidy, It’s NOT the government’s money.

    2. avatar j says:

      You do realize that HK was one of the few manufacturers who spoke out against the ’94 AWB………..I guess certain people seem to insist on holding weird irrational grudges for decades…..

  11. The horror! The horror! The only incentives leftists are likely to find more abhorrent would be for businesses like evil greedy tobacco, pharmaceutical, or oil & gas companies.

  12. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Somebody better call a WAHHHHmbulance.

  13. avatar Hammers says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-05/say-goodbye-to-solar-power-subsidies

    $24 billion in 6 years for Solar panels. Just for their customers buying them..Not even close to the amount this industry gets

  14. avatar BurleyOleBear says:

    Here’s a thought: if these taxes didn’t exist in the first place, there’d be no “breaks” to give to any company

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    ACA is COMMUNISM PAID FOR by a tax.

    Companies keeping more of their own money is not a subsidy.

  16. avatar Ironbear says:

    Anything that horrifies Mother Jones is all to the good, in my book.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      That’s definitely an official ‘Martha Stewart’ ‘Good Thing’ in my book…

  17. avatar PeterK says:

    I really really want a job in that industry. That would rock.

    I don’t know that I want the government meddling with it, though. :p

    Still, jobs gotta job. If you’re granting tax breaks might as well be supporting civil rights.

  18. avatar Samuel says:

    Hey, the states need the industry. What else are they supposed to do? Ask nicely? This is a capitalist country, for better or worse. Relying on industry to “do the right thing” is unwise. Besides, building a new factory or moving operations costs money. If you can have your pick of 7 states, all with similar low taxes and wages, why not go with the one that will help defray your costs? You both benefit from it. The region gains jobs, the company pays taxes, the employees pay taxes, the cost is paid back, and its all profit after that. They do this in ALL industries. Of course, the Evil Gun Makers must have special restrictions, and life should be made as difficult for them as possible. Can’t expect them to be treated equally with other companies, right? After all, it’s Their Fault That All These People Get Killed. Clearly, logic says that if you just stop the companies making guns, no one will have any guns, and we’ll all be safe! (Ignoring, of course, the fact that where there is a demand, someone will supply it, legal or not.) Even if they can’t make them go out of business, they can make the cost of business so high that the price of guns will triple. At least we can ensure that only the rich can afford to own guns. I’m sure they’d be happy enough with that result. It’s the poor that can’t be trusted. Gotta keep them in line!
    BTW, I have trouble understanding how Colts, of all places, ended up bankrupt? Union employees? I would have thought they were going strong. They get turned down for too many govn’t contracts? I notice that we seem to give most of our business to foreign companies nowadays, especially FN. First Berretta, then FN,

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      As I understand it, Colt had a *lot* of elderly highly skilled machinists retire and the company didn’t have or didn’t want to pay for a robust apprenticeship program to fill the ranks…

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        True. They went CNC so they wouldn’t have to have highly skilled and highly paid machinists.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        Go to a high school and try to find yuts that want a $50k+ job that involves getting their hands dirty – welding, tool & die, machinist, etc.

        They pinheads running the school brainwash the kids that they are loosers if don’t borrow $50k to get a BA in underwater basket weaving. Which then qualifies them for a telemarketing job at $25k.yr. But no dirty hands.

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          It’s an interesting dynamic going on in the trades. I’ve heard contractors, electricians, and plumbers talk about how there aren’t a lot of new people coming up. A lot of it is that people don’t realize there’s a good living to be made, even better than a lot of “white collar” work, but those aren’t seen as “good jobs”.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Have you noticed the number of truly skilled un-documented tradesmen starting to fill those positions? I’ve seen fully Latino electrician crews on commercial construction jobsites for the past few years now…

        3. avatar Former Water Walker says:

          Chicagoland is flooded with eastern European workers of all stripes-skilled and unskilled. And they’re glad to work. And plenty of Spanglish guys(lots of roofers and building).

    2. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      Cause everyone and their mothers make AR’s,1911’s, and revolvers that are better quality with better components as well. Colt’s monopoly on those designs are over.

      Also I am not going to give a company money just because it is ‘Murican. Make a stellar product or suffer like the free market should be. Beretta and FN stepped up to the plate. They offer guns that the military and civilian market want. If Colt can’t compete fairly then it is their fault, f’ em.

  19. avatar PeterW says:

    I would that 100% of my tax money go to gun manufacturers instead of war manufacturers

  20. avatar Steven says:

    Volvo got $200 million from the state of SC to build it’s new factory here. Has any gun maker been given that much just to build a factory? I think not.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      Not sure about the specifics of the Volvo deal, but in general, companies aren’t “given” even a fraction of the reported numbers. Instead, it is all related to tax breaks.

      Saying some hoodlum “gave” you $5K, just because he decided not to rob you one day, is pretty disingenuous. The reasons companies move to less extractive states, are similar to the reasons productive people tend to move away from neighborhoods where being robbed is a fairly predictable occurrence.

  21. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

    maybe they can throw some glocks together while they’re at it.

  22. avatar Mark N. says:

    This is chump change. Is ther a story in there somewhere? I think not.

  23. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Corporate welfare is corporate welfare, regardless which favored company or industry receives it. I don’t want government bureaucrats picking winners and losers in the economy with my money.

    And, no, it isn’t just a matter of comparing these firearms companies to solar panel or electric car boondoggles and finding these more palatable. It’s just plain ol’ politically connected, big business shoving its snout into the government trough, paid for by the rest of us, including small businesses whom governors never go visit.

  24. avatar pg2 says:

    Does Mother Jones have an issue the loads of other corporate welfare? Or is she very selective in her criticism? We know the answer.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      MJ is written by and for urban trustafarians. The actual financial impacts of this, is simultaneously beyond their ability to grasp, and utterly irrelevant. After all, dad pays all bills anyway.

      So, the problem most of them seem to have, is with ideological consistency. It is OK for leftists to subsidize “their” industries, as it’s part and parcel of leftist teachings. But, the “right wingers” are against subsidies (supposedly). Hence, MJ just, nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah, caught some Southerners and “right wingers” being hypocritical! Ohhhhh!

      Of course, outside of select hipster bars, no one really cares about MJ anyway. And even where they do, it’s a different MJ they really care about….

  25. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Meh so what…better gun gimmes than freakin’ ethanol. lol. Interesting reading but chump change compared to all the TIF zones and boondoggles around HERE(Illinois)…

  26. avatar Hannibal says:

    Look at all those gun companies giving jobs and tax dollars to anti-gun states in return for a little kickback.

  27. avatar LNJK says:

    H*ll, that’s just normal business practices. You bring in employment and other revenues to an area and you look for ways to offset your business expenses and start up costs.

  28. avatar jwtaylor says:

    As the former executive director of economic development and tourism for the state of Texas, the Mossberg moves and expansions were my direct responsibility. Damn proud of that work. Not only is the work done in Texas now, but we’ve made well over 4X the amount of taxes back from them compared to the cash we gave them. Company wins, tax payers win, prices stay down so gun buyers win. Yay.

  29. avatar dph says:

    Those numbers are peanuts compared to bribing a pro sports franchise to move or keeping a major aerospace company in your state. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/12/washington-just-awarded-the-largest-state-tax-subsidy-in-u-s-history/

  30. avatar ATTAGReader says:

    While I hate tax incentives, these are trivial. And I am glad that Ruger moved to Mayodan, NC, to help reduce a horribly high unemployment rate due to traditional furniture industry having moved to China, thanks to both Gingrich (R) and Clinton (D). It would take every firearms manufacturer in the country moving in to replace the lost furniture jobs in this area.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      A big part of that is the same thing that bit Colt in the ass.

      The skilled expensive woodworkers retired. China has a country full of folks who know (kinda) how to work wood at a lowball price.

      I’ve seen the lack of quality in Chinese furniture, it’s atrocious. The few pieces of decent furniture my folks have bought in the 60’s -70’s from Thomasville in North Carolina blow the China crap out of the water.

      True craftsmanship is going to start to cost you serious money (more than it already does)…

  31. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    This is peanuts compared to Aerospace and Ordnance of the military industrial complex.

  32. avatar gs650g says:

    Just think of all the free shit that would buy to re-elect socialist democrats. The nerve.

  33. avatar Ricardo says:

    That’s funny. Most of these ‘subsidies’ are simply deferred/reduced property (and sometimes income tax) taxes for a period of time that a location would not have had otherwise. The logic being net jobs directly added to the local economy and those employed folks pay all manner of local/state taxes. Full property taxes kick in after 5-10years. At best, these are indirect subsidies. There are all kinds of deals cut by local governments that don’t have big coffers to shell out $$ directly, so they cut temporarily reduced tax deals to get manufacturing to relocate. Win-Win.

    Compare that to the bloody millions of DIRECT tax subsidies that the Planned Parenthood Death Cult gets to DIRECTLY kill the most innocent, weakest and vulnerable citizens. That’s a lot of taxpayers they are killing.

    The Progressive mind is not so mysterious, it’s just warped and diseased.

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