There is a major economic crisis in full rumor mode with the possible sale or closure of IBM’s computer chip making division. Both the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and the Shumlin administration are working together to come up with incentives that would keep IBM in Vermont and save the existing 4,000 jobs there.
IBM is Vermont’s largest employer. The loss of 4,000 jobs and their families would create huge downward impact on Vermont’s economy.
Frank Cioffi, President of GBIC, proposed an immediate action plan that would give direct cash payments to IBM. He stated: We are primarily concerned with the well being of the 8,000 Vermonters whose jobs and economic well being is as a result of the IBM operations in Vermont and IBM investments in Vermont.” He also favors supporting a new anchor employer as opposed to creating a contingency plan for the possible closure of the plant. That new employer is rumored to be Globalfoundries.
Governor Shumlin proposes setting up a $4.5 million fund for financial incentives or direct payments to any company that may be ready to move out of Vermont. His plan would take effect on July 1, 2015, if approved.
Cioffi’s plan is for payments to IBM to begin immediately. He stated: Granting money “to IBM Campus Ownership” is the first step. The details of such payments would need to be discussed and agreed upon.
Cioffi also recommended funding “a public buyer” for the waster water and electrical infrastructure on the IBM campus. In addition he favors increasing the workforce training programs.