Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the well known drug company with production and research personnel in North Andover, has decided to cut 300 employees from its payroll. The cuts are largely due to the merger with Wyeth and the positions are redundant.
300 job cuts are not enough to hurt the local economy too badly, but certainly losing 300 jobs in biotechnology research is worse than losing 300 minimum wage jobs in some other industry.
The part that bothers me is that once again we find that this company made a promise with the Deval Patrick administration to add jobs on hopes of getting subsidies from the state.
Before the Pfizer acquisition, state government officials had pledged to support Wyeth’s expansion plans in Massachusetts. In September 2007, Governor Deval Patrick said more than $2 million in infrastructure grants would be set aside to improve a northbound Interstate 93 onramp near the Wyeth manufacturing site. The grant, which state officials hoped would attract another $13 million in federal and state funds for the project, was conditioned on Wyeth adding 100 jobs in Andover.
Though the money had not yet been spent it is a blatant example of where Deval Patrick was playing favorites with the taxpayer’s money and getting burned. I am positive that Wyeth and Pfizer knew about the merger when the deal with Deval was made. Mergers do not happen overnight.
But alas, this is not the only story in today’s Globe in which Deval Patrick played favorites with industries and companies and got burned. In Fall River the state spent $35 million to develop off-ramps to a proposed biotechnology park that is not going to happen. It seems that Fall River officials have changed their mind and instead want to open a casino. I guess Fall River reserves the right to do with its land as it wishes, but not after the state has coughed up $35 million to help the process along. Shame on Fall River!
Worse yet, is that along with the $35 million in road developments, paid for by the state, there was an additional $15 million in state funding through UMass to develop their own biotechnology center at the original site. Now that the site is going to be a casino the school is no longer interested and will likely withdraw its plans thus losing some of the $15 million.
Time and again the Deval Patrick administration has played games with the taxpayers money taking risks on what it believes to be the industries of the future. We have seen it in ‘green’ industries and biotechnology industries alike. Deval Patrick has no clue what the economy of the future will look like. Not only that, but it is not the job of the Governor , or the legislature, to risk the money of the taxpayers on specific industries that it favors.
If any Gubernatorial candidate tells you that he/she wants to invest in the economy of the future – vote against them. If they tell you that using your money to create jobs is the way to go – vote against them. If they hint that one industry should be subsidized at the expense of another – vote against them. If they propose different tax rates for different industries or companies – vote against them.
I don’t know if that leaves any of the candidates still in the race, but pay close attention.