Carrier incentives deal still requires board vote; may include controversy

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Carrier could receive at least $5 million in state incentives as part of a deal reached to keep roughly 1,000 in Indianapolis, I-Team 8 has learned.

John Mutz, a board member of Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which will vote on the incentives package on Dec. 13, told I-Team 8 that Carrier would receive what’s called an EDGE grant, which he said would include tax incentives of up to $5 million spread over 10 years.

Mutz, who said he was briefed on the deal this week, said he doesn’t know the full details as of Thursday , but said: “I don’t see how I could vote against given the benefits it has for jobs and Hoosier jobs and people I care about,” Mutz said. “But I want to read the fine print.”

Greg LeRoy, a policy watchdog with the non-profit Good Jobs First, said that his group has been highly critical of EDGE grants in the past.

In fact, LeRoy said his group published a 2012 study that found many of the EDGE grant incentives are crafted in such a way that employees’ withholding taxes often end up going back to the company – and not into state coffers.

“We think it’s bad policy,” LeRoy told I-Team 8.

LeRoy said in 16 states his group studied, including Indiana and Illinois, many of the incentives require no approval from the employees.

Carrier did not respond to an email with specific questions about the incentives package.

Both LeRoy and Mutz concede, however, that the state incentives were not what ultimately lured Carrier to retain more than 1,000 jobs in Indy.

Instead, both men contend that Carrier’s lucrative government contracts along with the company’s subdivisions’ large stake in the international export game likely played a major role.

“It was likely not part of the conversation,” Mutz said. “But United Technologies (Carrier’s parent company) – they aren’t dummies.”

I-Team 8 found that UTC garnered more than $16.5 billion in Pentagon contracts since 9/11. UTC and its subsidiaries produce aircraft and engine parts for the federal government.

Mutz said it likely makes up about 10 percent of UTC’s earnings. Federal financial records show the company currently has about $9.5 billion in contracts listed as “in progress,” according to SEC records.

Neither President-elect Donald Trump nor Vice-President-elect Mike Pence mentioned the specifics of the deal during a campaign victory tour stop at Carrier.