AMD gets more tax breaks

Chipmaker AMD's $4.6 billion manufacturing facility in the Town of Malta will qualify for another $27.8 million in tax breaks as a result of 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 to the county when 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 multi-billion dollar plans.

Though the state's Empire Zone program has granted sales tax waivers as part of the incentive package, county sales tax accounts for three percent of the seven percent tax. The county IDA often provides waivers or assistance to relevant projects, and the AMD facility will be the 83rd project addressed in its 20 years.

Currently, the facility will still pay school and property taxes.

Only one person chose to address the board during a public hearing held before the vote (another hearing was held in the Town of Stillwater, where future plants may be built). 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, down from the 44 percent share the company originally predicted.

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