BUFFALO, N.Y. -– Tesla plans to layoff 285 employees in Buffalo, the vast majority of which work at its South Buffalo gigafactory.

Empire Center for Public Policy Research Director Ken Girardin is not surprised.

"I don't want to take away from the hardship that Tesla workers in Buffalo are feeling, but this project was doomed from the beginning," Girardin said.

According to a WARN notice submitted to the state Department of Labor, the layoffs will amount to a 14% reduction from the more than 2,000 people the company currently employs in the region. Tesla will remain above the 1,460 jobs it agreed to create and maintain in Buffalo.

In exchange, the state spent nearly $1 billion to build and equip the factory, but Girardin points out the job obligations are not close to what either side originally agreed.

"The state sort of recognized how unrealistic the original vision was, and had started watering this down nine years ago," he said.

The fiscally conservative think tank Empire Center has long been critical of the project, which Girardin said was more about positive headlines than good public policy.

"Until folks speak up and start asking their lawmakers to address the fundamental obstacles to economic growth in their region, they're going to continue to get these shiny objects sprinkled on their area with no long-term hope of transformation," he said.

The state argues Tesla continues to be a major contributor to Western New York's economy. However, Girardin said promised spin-off jobs and development never materialized as Tesla has moved away from the solar roof technology it originally planned to build at the factory and began working on a variety of other projects.

"The fact that Tesla is doing so many disparate things at this facility points to the fact that they are just trying to live up to their contractual obligations with the state of New York," he said.

Girardin said Tesla is now an incumbent business in Buffalo and the state has already spent public dollars. He said moving forward, lawmakers should push policies that make the region more attractive for expansion and job creation, not just for Tesla but everyone.

"The state has really learned a lesson hopefully. If you look at other mega-deals like Micron, New York is addressing that differently, where the money is going to flow as the jobs are created," Girardin said.