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By | Ashlee Vance 25th June 2008 21:33

North Carolina will pay IBM $750,000 for 10 jobs

Great BBQ and strip clubs for execs too

North Carolina will do just about anything to keep technology companies happy, including offering IBM up to $750,000 to bring just 10 jobs to the state.

IBM has revealed plans to construct a $362m so-called "leadership data center" in either North Carolina, New York or Colorado. Hoping to secure this center, Durham County officials in North Carolina have just committed to a seven-year, $750,000 incentive package for IBM. That's just chump change in the big scheme of things, but we're sure IBM appreciates the effort.

You might think a $362m data plant would provide a lot of work for locals. But that's not the case. IBM thinks the new facility will only require about 10 staff.

That's a pretty common total for these types of mega data centers. Google often says that it needs about 20 people for each of its new $500m computing facilities.

And companies such as Google and Microsoft also receive perks to build their new centers with taxpayers in various states around the US agreeing to major breaks around power consumption costs. That's quite handy for the likes of Google and Microsoft, since they're so strapped for cash and battling it out with rivals in low-margin businesses where just a few nickels can be the difference between maintaining a monopoly and going bust.

Anyway, the Durham folks justify the IBM package by saying that 1,000 or so executives will visit the new data center every year and spend money at hotels, restaurants, bars and strip clubs.

"Over five years, the data center would generate $4.4 million in visitor spending, which in turn would translate into $150,000 in local tax money, Shelley Green of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau said," reports local paper The Herald-Sun.

IBM may want to hold out and see what New York has to offer for the sake of its executives. After all, the food and strip clubs are quite a bit better up North.

Over the years, North Carolina has offered up all kinds of incentives to keep and attract technology companies. It's not a bad strategy given that the state's once-prized tobacco, furniture and textile industries are all under assault.

But the incentive packages do have a tendency to make North Carolina look rather desperate. For example, the state went so far as to build roads, hire cops and send Dell employees' children to school to secure a new PC factory. ®

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