The wheels of Air Force One have long left Albany, NY behind. President Barack Obama has left the building, capping today's official visit at the State University of New York's Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
At the end of an official Presidential visit, college tour, and speech, the President also left behind a Congressional "To-Do-List." Sadly, left off that list was a visit to the 12020 zip code. Originally, the President was scheduled to visit AMD Global Foundries, a regional nanotech company that produces micro computer chips. The actual production facility is in Malta, NY, about 25 miles north of Albany. Instead of greeting local politicains and Nanotech classes, the President was supposed to meeting with Nanotech's professional masses.
"Logisitics" were cited by The White House as for the venue change, but real life statitistics may tell a different story. By any standards, the numbers associated with Global Foundries are daunting: $4.2 billion dollars total project cost. 1200 to 1300 projected jobs when fully operational, and $1.2 billion dollars of State subsidies/taxpayer money.
That's Billion, with a capital B. And it is growing. Dating back to the 1980's, state and local officials -- Repubicans and Democrats alike -- voted for direct money, tax breaks, or grants for Global Foundaries. As the shine from those roses are just now -- slowly -- starting to bloom, the thorns simply can't be over-looked.
The President said, "Now I want to see what happens in Albany, happen all across the country." Well, maybe some of it can, and hopefully, only some of it will.
AMD is Global Foundries enacting parent company. This AMD project is partially financed by the United Arab Emirates. AMD's Chief Executive Officer recently parted ways with the company, and an interim was named. Raj Rajaratnam, of the Galleon Investor Fraud Trial, had direct connections to AMD. Raharatnam was found guilty of hiding $63.8 million dollars of losses. He was found guilty on 14 counts of indictments, which could result in 20 years of prison. Raj's sentencing date is July 29. Another driving force behind Nanotech in the Capital Region was former Senate Majority Joseph Bruno, who is ironicaly, being indicted by Obama's own federal goverment (under questionable legal clauses) for a second time. And, AMD lost $150 million in the last quarter alone.
As Global Foundries teters on "projections," the President, Statewide, and local leaders should all be fully commended their work, and for seeing that something good is happening in the Empire State. But, hiding form the ghosts of gambled taxpayer dollars at the Nano Science College, instead at the factory site, leaves everyone feeling a little short changed. In statewide Republican Circles, it is continuously being asked; "If chip fab is so good, Then why isn't the private sector financing this?" With the enromous amount of public/taxpayer money poured into projects like Solyndra and our own Global Foundaries, that question becomes more real and more valid for all New Yorkers everyday.