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Taxpayer Protections

The CHIPS semiconductor incentives program must enable and sustain, over the long term, a vibrant domestic semiconductor industry, revitalize high-volume semiconductor manufacturing, renew U.S. strengths in design, materials, and process innovation, and benefit the rest of the economy. These goals can only occur if taxpayer funds are used wisely and for the public purposes they are meant to achieve. The Department of Commerce (“Department”) is committed to ensuring the effective, efficient and accountable use of taxpayer dollars in implementing the CHIPS semiconductor incentives program so that these goals are achieved. 

CHIPS funds will help lower the cost gap for building in the United States and compete with foreign subsidies so that the semiconductor industry can thrive in America. CHIPS-funded projects should be commercially successful for the companies that operate them—commercial viability is key to developing a sustainable semiconductor industry that serves as an economic engine for the rest of the economy. But CHIPS funds should not create windfalls for the companies that receive them. The Department will be vigilant throughout the process to ensure that these funds further the economic and national security goals of CHIPS. That will include:

  • Ensuring that the size of the incentives any company receives is no larger than is necessary to ensure the project happens here in the United States. Applicants will have to supply detailed financial information and projections for the projects they propose. The Department will also require companies to provide capital investment plans as part of the application process. The Department will go over these with a fine-tooth comb and make sure that companies are not padding their models to ask for outsized incentives. 
  • Prioritizing selecting companies that are committed to investments in manufacturing, innovation, and workers. The CHIPS funds are starter capital that will enable the industry, over the long term, to continually invest in sustainability and growth. In selecting projects, the Department will give preference in awards to companies who commit to make future investments that grow the domestic semiconductor industry (such as through research and development, workforce training, or manufacturing investments) and not engage in stock buybacks. The Department will seek to make awards to applicants who demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to this vision.
  • Strictly monitoring the use of funds to ensure companies are delivering on their promises and not abusing taxpayer resources. The CHIPS incentives are not a subsidy for companies to make them more profitable or enable them to have more cash for stock buybacks or to pad their bottom line. The CHIPS incentives are to be used for specified projects in the United States and not in other countries. The incentives are about investing in the U.S., in our workers, in our economy and in our national security. This includes strictly enforcing many important guardrails in the CHIPS Act—which cover appropriate uses of government funds, project delays, IP transactions that raise national security concerns, and investments in foreign countries of concern. The Department may develop other guardrails, as needed and consistent with the law, to maximize the public purposes of federal investments and prevent companies from seeking to evade statutory requirements. The Department will not hesitate to clawback funds or pursue other remedies if companies misuse taxpayer dollars.
  • Prohibiting companies that receive a CHIPS incentive, for 10 years, from engaging in significant transactions in China or other countries of concern involving any leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing capacity or material expansions of legacy semiconductor manufacturing capacity designed to export to the U.S. and other countries.
  • Requiring companies to certify the accuracy of information provided to the government. Application forms will identify that the Department is materially relying on information companies provide. Companies will be subject to enforcement actions pursuant to criminal statutes related to the submission of false information to the government, the False Claims Act, and other applicable legal authorities.
  • Maintaining the highest ethical standards in the operation of the CHIPS program. The Department will work to uphold the public’s trust by ensuring compliance with ethics laws and regulations and making all decisions in the best interest of the United States. 
  • Discouraging race-to-the-bottom subsidy competitions between states and localities. CHIPS awards require state and local incentives for the project. The Department expects to give preference to projects that include state and local incentive packages that maximize local competitiveness, invest in the surrounding community, and prioritize broad economic gains, rather than just making outsize financial contributions to a single company.
  • Prioritizing companies that make significant worker and community investments. Eligible applicants will have to provide evidence of significant worker and community investments, including commitments from educational institutions for worker training, with specific commitments to disadvantaged groups. This could include, for example, training and apprenticeship programs for workers at new fabrication plants. The Department will also closely monitor the implementation of these commitments.

The valuable taxpayer support provided under this program is to achieve critical economic and national security priorities. We will make that clear to all companies that receive this support. We will not tolerate abuse of the conditions of this program and will exercise every tool within our authority to ensure that this money serves these critical goals.
 

Created July 29, 2022