Bridgewater Buck$: You Be The Judge!

Bridgewater — the world’s largest hedge fund, which manages $150 billion in investments — just put its hand out for $22 million.

And the state of Connecticut ponied up.

The Westport-based firm — tucked away at 2 locations, the Glendinning property off Weston Road, and Nyala Farm on the Sherwood Island connector — has been granted $22 million in loans and guarantees from the State Bond Commission.

In return, Bridgewater promised to create 750 jobs by the end of 2021, while keeping 1,402 currently in the state.

Bridgewater's Glendinning headquarters.

Bridgewater’s Glendinning headquarters.

The hedge fund gets $5 million in training and energy assistance grants, and a $17 million low-interest loan. The loan will be forgiven if Bridgewater “keeps its promises for new and retained jobs in Connecticut,” NBC Connecticut says.

Bridgewater — founded and run by Ray Dalio of Greenwich, the richest man in the state — will spend $527 million to expand its facilities in Westport, Wilton and Norwalk.

So what does the “06880” community think of this news about our 06880 neighbor?

Click the poll below!


26 responses to “Bridgewater Buck$: You Be The Judge!

  1. What has Bridgewater’s contribution been to local philanthropic ventures? Have they been a good neighbor and a boon to the community?
    Do they create jobs at all levels or only jobs for investors?
    Is it important to Westport to keep them on the local tax roll?

    Obviously, the state thinks it is important for them to stay. Does Westport agree?

  2. Dan Sixsmith

    the 750 jobs ‘created’ are net new jobs? many times these promises are obfuscated with a large layoff to counter balance the ‘new’ jobs

  3. Michael Brennecke

    While on the surface I suppose it’s a form of blackmail, Fairfield lost GE by not playing the game. It’s essentially a math problem in the end. I won’t pretend to know the reality of the numbers but I’m guessing Bridgewater is better at math than the state.

  4. Cornelia Fortier

    It’s hard to swallow considering how much of the state’s mental health budget and services to people with disabilities has been cut this year.

  5. Deb Rosenfeld

    This is a pretty typical package extended by a state to a business from the state’s economic development department. In 1995, when my company, a London-based corporation, purchased an existing business in Rochester, NY, NYS Economic Development approached us (we did not approach them) within a month of closing the deal and offered us a similar package although on a smaller scale since the business purchased was smaller. By the time we had bought the company, the prior owners (a very large pharma company) had whittled down the staff from 400 people to 100 and the factory was practically out of business. The prior corporation would have closed the entire facility within a month had we not bought it. Within four years, we had fixed many of the problems, received FDA clearance to manufacture other products and had increased staff to almost 400 people once again. We only had to add 100 jobs to get that portion of the package, BTW. In addition, NYS Econ Dev introduced us to other companies in the area, such as Kodak, B&L, etc. plus they assisted us with other connections within NYS. And, we quickly built an active presence in the community cooperating with Habitat for Humanity, the Rochcester Zoo, a local theater group, etc.

    Take a look in the files and see what incentives the state of CT offered Boehringer Ingleheim in Ridgefield in order to keep them in-state. As I recall, they only had to add 100 jobs to the payroll but could be mistaken.

    I’m sure that other companies have received packages as well, especially if they start companies in underdeveloped areas. It would have been a boon for CT to have kept GE. In the 1970’s, Stamford, CT had more corporate HQ than any other city and now look at the state of this state.

    Demonstrating that CT is willing to keep Bridgewater here might actually attract other companies. These companies use local businesses to build, feed employees, etc. From my perspective, keeping Bridgewater in Westport is, as Martha Stewart used to say, “a good thing.”

  6. Sharon Paulsen

    let’s see: 750 jobs, at a cost of about 22 million, will provide a scant “poverty wage” for said 750 folks.

    But hey, at least they’ll have a nicely renovated facility in which to slave in.

    goody goody!

    (Keep an eye out for any shiny new toys popping up for high level state politicians. Or maybe lux vacay’s at one of those hedge fund owned resorts?)

    I. Just. Can’t.

    • Alex Kuhner

      What is the math you are proposing? Most of the jobs at Bridgewater are well into six figures. The $20k per job is effectively what the state is paying them for the favor of creating those jobs, and presumably they will collect more than that in taxes from the people taking those six figure jobs – however that presumes that a) those 750 jobs are filled by new residents, which won’t be true, and b) that those new jobs are filled by residents at all. Some portion of Bridgewater’s employees commute into Westport from Manhattan, where most of the young people with the skills they are looking for live. So it’s not straight forward math where the state can count on a net increase in revenue directly from these 750 jobs, but that’s the idea.

      I’m not saying I support this kind of a program, states need to stop the race to the bottom in tax and grant giveaways.

      • Its also in the form of guarantees & low-interest loans, not cash. Full value isn’t the entire $22 million.

      • Jerry MacDaid

        Actually, the math is pretty straightforward. The CT employees that live in NYC pay CT state income tax on whatever they earn here and then get credit against their NY taxes. Sort of the opposite of CT residents that work in NYC who pay NY taxes and get credit reducing their CT taxes for what they paid NY.

        Some would argue that non-residents are the best kind of taxpayers – little demand on state/local services and don’t put pressure on local housing supply but generate a lot of revenue for the state (though perhaps not much locally). Again, sort of the flip side for NYC commuters who generate relatively low revenues for the state though do contribute locally via property taxes for local services as well as sales taxes if they shop in CT rather than NY.

      • Sharon Paulsen

        I was just being a bit facetious in my comment, and a bit knee-jerk too. I honestly don’t know squat about employee earnings at this company.
        I was having a bad day too, so … there’s that, lol.

  7. After this comes 100 businesses with their hands out, & at least half won’t keep the promise. But the alternative is to take a ton of criticism for “letting jobs go”, so this is what we get.

  8. Blackmail
    Maybe it pays off

  9. David Loffredo

    I guess if I thought we could actually use the $22M for something else I’d care but since it’d just get absorbed into some other pet project I’m happy to see it go to preserve our property values.

    Everyone in the industry knows the Bridgewater is the largest hedge fund on the planet and arguably the most successful year in and year out. While Greenwich and Stamford hedge funds are shrinking and closing, BW continues to grow and thrive.

    On paper this looks like the rich getting richer, but I think everyone in town benefits – and as someone with their house currently on the market I can tell you the Westport real estate scene isn’t killing it, so I say be happy that 2100 households will be here and move on to the next story.

  10. Gil Ghitelman

    Hedge fund guys could work out of their bedroom with a phone and a computer. Big hedge funds would require a whole lot more bedrooms and relocating to neighboring states probably isn’t too complicated. Malloy was under the gun Bridgewater knew it. Having a couple of billionaires in this town who are not assholes could be refreshing.

  11. Jeffrey Wieser

    With or without the loss of GE, I think it is great that Bridgewater is staying right here – and I hope they continue to feel welcome!

  12. Seems Pros are unanimous I agree

  13. Jerry MacDaid

    Keeping 1400 well paying jobs and adding another 750, even over time, probably generates a more than enough personal income tax revenue for CT to offset then nominal $22MM cost with a decent amount left over. My recollection is that the $22MM is considerably lower than what was originally on the table so if they can keep them here for that amount, plus have them spend $500MM+, sounds like a reasonable deal.

    One would obviously prefer this not be necessary but it seems better than the alternative of both a) Bridgewater moving and b) the $22MM being pissed away on some less beneficial project.

  14. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Done well not risky. If not done well hope the people applying the strategy are smart. Research.

  15. Bart Shuldman

    Maybe this will help Westport residents understand how important it is for CT to keep these high paying jobs in the state.

    As most in Westport have read, the State of CT is facing a real financial crisis. Most of Connecticut’s budget issues this year was due to declining state income tax receipts. The details behind the state income tax shortfall are shocking.

    The budget revenue shortfall for this fiscal year (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) is approximately $790 million. With approximately 1,600,000 tax returns, the top 50 out of 1,600,000 or .003% of all the taxpayers in Connecticut were responsible for 28% of the Connecticut budget revenue shortfall—these top 50 taxpayers were responsible for a loss of over $220 million in state income tax receipts!!!!

    50 taxpayers were responsible for 28% of the state income tax shortfall and they are critical to the financial stability of Connecticut.

    The Governor did the right thing after he and the leadership in Hartford blew the situation with General Electric who are now moving their headquarters to MA. The Governor had to keep Bridgewater in Connecticut (and we need them in Westport) as the state cannot afford to lose anymore high state income taxpayers. Their loss would be a huge negative impact to Connecticut revenues.

    The Governor and the leadership in Hartford (which includes our own Rep Steinberg) better be careful not to motivate anymore high state income taxpayers to move out.

    I hope they never move out of the state.

  16. Jerry MacDaid

    The Wall Street Journal had a nice op-ed piece on the Bridgewater payment today. Not particularly supportive of of the corporate welfare aspects but did highlight the fiscal nightmare CT is facing and the not unpredictable death spiral of a “soak the rich” and generally business unfriendly strategy.

  17. Andrew Sebor

    It is about time that CT started to be more business friendly. Perhaps some of the 750 will serve to replace higher income retirees who are fleeing in large numbers. If you doubt that is true drive into any country club parking lot on a Saturday and check the license plates. For Westport, which is better, a retired senior or a young family with three children in the school system? Senior income gets deferred from CT income taxes and paid into other State coffers when withdrawn. Part of the reason for that is the ridiculously low estate/gift tax threshold here in CT.