Ball Calls for Immediate Hearing into IBM IDA Agreement, Severance Packages, and Campaign Contributions
Albany, NY -- Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I–Patterson), ranking member of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, called on committee Chairman Richard Brodsky to convene a hearing into the agreement between the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and IBM, which saw the latter receive $45 million in state aid, ostensibly to create and retain jobs; as well as into disturbing reports about the severance packages being given to former employees.
“Who was at the bargaining table and negotiating table? Who was there when they cut this deal to create jobs in 2008, that are now gone in 2009?” Ball asked earlier today in Albany.
Yesterday, it was reported IBM would lay off a massive number of U.S. employees in Global Business Services (a division that includes IBM Sterling Forest in Orange County, IBM Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County and IBM Research at Ossining in Westchester County) and replace them with workers in India, echoing last month’s news that close to a thousand employees at IBM East Fishkill were to be laid off.
“For the benefit of New York, I want to see that the full weight of the Corporations Committee looks into the $45 million in taxpayer money that IBM received,” Ball said. “We also need to investigate IBM pulling out the rug on the benefits of ex-employees who are seniors.”
Ball has received numerous calls from constituents whose jobs were off-shored by IBM. After forty years of employment, one 68-year old worker was laid off in February. As part of his separation package, IBM committed to provide him subsidized medical coverage under IBM's Transitional Medical Program/COBRA.
Assemblyman Ball has learned that IBM will not honor that commitment. For employees less than 65 years old, the ex-employee monthly premium would be $38, with a monthly premium subsidy from IBM of $379. For employees 65 years and older, the ex-employee monthly premium is $129, with no premium subsidy from IBM, and a year deductible totally $879.
“I am still waiting to hear from Chairman Brodsky on opening an investigation into AIG, but a hearing on IBM also needs to be a top priority,” Ball stated. “We have all heard the reports about campaign contributions by AIG just prior to its bailout by the taxpayers of New York. We need to follow the money and hear from the top executives at IBM and the EDSC to ensure a similar situation has not occurred.”
Ball currently has two pieces of legislation with bipartisan support in the Assembly that would end tax incentives for companies that offshore jobs (A5660) and require companies to disclose their compliance with IDA agreements (A5677).