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AMD gets $27.8 million tax break from county

Chipmaker AMD's $4.6 billion manufacturing facility in the Town of Malta will qualify for another $27.8 million in tax breaks following a Monday, Dec. 8, decision by the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency.

The seven-member IDA board voted to waive county sales taxes on construction materials, saving the company millions on top of the roughly $1.2 billion in state grants and Empire Zone benefits that were instrumental in attracting the project to Saratoga County.

The vote, held at Malta Town Hall, was 5-1. Malta Councilwoman Sue Nolen elected to abstain, citing her involvement in town legislation involving AMD. Charles Hanehan, a Town of Saratoga councilman, voted against the resolution, arguing that the money would be helpful considering expectations of diminished sales tax returns.

It's going to shrink this year, we're sure of that, said Hanehan, adding that $28 million is a drop in the bucket for the facility, and would hardly make or break AMD's plans.

Only one person chose to address the board during the public hearing held before the vote (another hearing was held in the Town of Stillwater, where future plants may fall). Malta resident Gerald Oswitt said it would be fiscally irresponsible to give away tax revenues in the current economic environment.

"This is just chump change," he said, adding, "AMD is a company that's going down the tubes."

Also on Monday, Advanced Micro Devices announced it will be reducing its stake in The Foundry Company, a joint-venture between the chipmaker and Abu Dhabi government funded Advanced Technology Investment Company. A cash-strapped AMD announced the venture in October as a way of staying afloat. Now, it will own only 34.2 percent of the manufacturing spinoff.

The change is because of the poor performance of AMD stock lately, which has essentially devalued ATIC's investment. ATIC will get more of Foundry for the same $2.1 billion price tag because of that. Two weeks ago the stock closed at $1.80, a low not seen since the 1970s.

The fabrication facility will provide 1,465 permanent jobs, according to AMD. Though the firm of M+W Zander will be handling the construction (they worked on AMD's plants in Dresden, Germany), AMD says that it will be seeking out local labor for the most part.""

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