Now, they tell us, Part 1,001:
Should a bridge that would connect two campuses at Microsoft’s headquarters be funded with $11 million from the federal stimulus package?
Critics of using stimulus money for the bridge say it would give the software giant a break on a pet project. They also say it serves as a warning sign of how some stimulus money is not being used to finance new projects but is being diverted to public works already under way…
…”This is $11 million where we are substituting public money for private money, and that means there’s some other project that would have a greater benefit than a bridge to Microsoft that’s not being built,” says Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.
But without the stimulus money, Marchione counters, the bridge may not have been built. Microsoft had “capped out” its contribution to the project, he explains. And the economic tough times have affected even the biggest companies. “Microsoft laid off 5,000 people in January,” Marchione points out.
Ellis doesn’t buy it.
“Let’s face it. Microsoft is one of the most lucrative companies in the country,” Ellis says. “They could have easily funded this out of pocket change. This is really about getting while the getting is good. Uncle Sam has a big wallet that’s there for the taking, and Redmond wanted to take it — and Microsoft was happy to let them pick up that part of the tab.”