Republican Senate Candidate’s Company Collected Millions In State Subsidies While Laying Off Workers

Connecticut Republican senate candidate Linda McMahon

On her campaign website, Republican senate candidate Linda McMahon (CT) rails against “reckless” and “out of control” government spending. She calls for the institution of a Balanced Budget Amendment (despite the widespread economic damage such an amendment could cause), and specifically singles out earmarks, claiming that they displace private sector job creation. McMahon has also called for “an end to corporate welfare.”

However, at the CT Post reported, McMahon was all too happy to accept government subsidies for her company, World Wrestling Entertainment, even when the company was laying off workers:

The Stamford-based WWE empire received about $37 million in state tax credits for staging and recording its wrestling spectacles dating back to July of 2009, state officials reported Friday.

The state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), in response to a request by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers, indicated that the WWE has received 20 separate tax credits totaling $36.7 million.

Three of the 20 credits, awarded as part of state legislation aimed at fostering film, TV and digital production in the state, totaled more than $5 million each in 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to a summary released under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Jim Watson, spokesman for the DECD, said Friday that the credits were granted, without strings, based on how much money the WWE had spent in Connecticut on producing its events.

“There are no job creation or retention requirements for them to earn the credits,” Watson said. “The credits are awarded based on qualified expenditures made in the state.”

In 2009, WWE collected $9 million in subsidies after announcing plans to lay off 60 workers.

Most states in the U.S. provide tax credits for movie and television production, despite the dubious effect they have promoting job creation. In 2007, Connecticut’s own Department of Community and Economic Development found that its film production credits were not worth the cost. (HT: Kenneth Thomas)