More than $16 billion in loans authorized five years ago by Congress to develop fuel-efficient vehicles has yet to be disbursed, with applicants for the money complaining that the Energy Department is crippling plans for greener cars and trucks at a time of rising gas prices.
Some companies contend that the loans, administered by energy officials, have dried up because of a political firestorm that followed the bankruptcy last year of the solar panel company Solyndra, which had received a federal loan from a related program. The bankruptcy fed Republican criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of clean energy loans because one of the investors in Solyndra was a major fund-raiser for the president.
Archive for the ‘V-Vehicle Company’ Category
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) tonight voted to refund about $1.47 million in tax money to the parish’s property owners that had been collected two years ago for the ill-fated V-Vehicle/Next Autoworks project. That money was the first year’s installment of about $15 million that was pledged on behalf of local taxpayers as a gift to the company in the event that the project got off the ground. It was collected for tax year 2009 only.
The company last month announced the termination of the project due to the inability to secure some $320 million in loans from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program.
Tonight’s action puts paid to a 2 1/2 year saga for the OPPJ that began with the jury voting in July of 2009 to put the tax proposition on the ballot. The proposition was narrowly passed by Ouachita Parish voters in October of 2009.
Also at the July meeting, a accompanying resolution was passed pledging to refund the tax money if the project didn’t materialize
Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) covered the story continually from the beginning and had more comprehensive coverage (over 150 stories) on the issue than any other news agency, local or state.
See here the archives.
Here’s the part that caught our attention.
However, political leaders say failure in the public sector, could mean opportunity in the private sector for Next Autoworks,
“We hope they can do it in the private sector. I know their finances were tight. At a time when the economy is in question, it would’ve put a strain on a company that’s not well-financed. We hope that will happen,” said Thompson.
THEIR finances were tight?!?!? How about taxpayer’s finances? They’re kind of tight, too.
It is always instructive when a politician talks a bit too much. They always say something they really didn’t intend to.
See the rest of the interview.
Start-up auto manufacturer Next Autoworks Co. has withdrawn its application for more than $320 million in federal loans that would have funded a plant in Ouachita Parish, thus ending a project that had been more than two years in the making.
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret (MOR’-ay) says the state is disappointed that Next Autoworks was unable to secure financing necessary to move the project forward.
The head of the Energy Department’s controversial loan guarantee program has decided to step down, department officials confirmed to The Washington Post on Thursday.
Jonathan Silver, who was named executive director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office in November 2009, has come under fire from congressional Republicans since the solar manufacturer Solyndra declared bankruptcy Aug. 31 after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee. While DOE made the initial loan to Solyndra before Silver took the program’s helm — a point he made repeatedly during his congressional testimony last month — he remained the administration’s point person for the embattled initiative.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement Thursday that Silver had informed him in July, when it was clear that no significant new funds were being budgeted for the loan program, that he would leave at the end of the fiscal year.
Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) profiled Silver a year and a half ago.
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) spent about 1 1/2 hours last night digging through the budget numbers of several of their funds. Three of them were major: Green Oaks Juvenile Detention Center, the Ouachita Parish Library, and the Department of Animal Control. The respective directors of the three facilities, Mike Rhodes, Robin Toms, and Hack Tull took turns answering juror’s questions.
See here a table of revenues and expenditures for the past several years for those three funds:
See here the budget worksheets for the three funds.
The jury also finally adopted the ad valorem (property) taxes for 2011. See here the 2011 revenue law.
“A reduction in taxes” for this year, said Caldwell.
Calhoun High School Alumni Association
Earlier in the meeting, two visitors – Brenda Randall and Vicki Gross – from the Calhoun High School Alumni Association spoke to the jury about the possibility of a donation of land at the site of the Calhoun Research Station. That facility is set to close and the land will revert to the jury who originally donated it for the station.
The status of the $1.45 million dollars collected from the taxpayers in 2009 for the ill-fated V-Vehicle/Next Autoworks project was not brought up publicly by any juror during the 2 hour and 45 minute meeting.
See how close to catastrophe the taxpayers of Louisiana, Ouachita parish and the United States came with the V-Vehicle/Next Autoworks deal?
Crony capitalism. Well connected special interests getting lucrative breaks from government has become so commonplace that most Americans no longer pay much attention to them. But that does not make them right and it is not good for the country.
Many have heard about Solyndra, the California maker of solar panels that recently filed bankruptcy after getting millions from the Obama Stimulus program. What many do not realize is that Solyndra is but one of many such “deals” that have stuck the taxpayer and enriched the campaign coffers of politicians. Fox News is report on several more, and you have to know that if we know about these that there are more.
The Energy Department, under fire over its management of a program that offers loan guarantees to clean-technology companies, has been finalizing additional multimillion-dollar loan guarantees in the program at a rate of more than one a week since the beginning of August. It now has just two weeks left to commit the program’s remaining $9.3 billion.
The push to finalize deals for the lucrative federal financing before the program expires at the end of the fiscal year is drawing fire from Republicans and government watchdogs. They say haste led to costly mistakes in the decision to back Solyndra, a solar-panel maker that collapsed two weeks ago, leaving taxpayers liable for a half-billion-dollar federal loan.
Beware of a company that claims it can make widgets for $10 each, sell them for $8 apiece, and then “make up the losses on volume.” No banker or venture capitalist would invest in such a foolhardy scheme. But substitute “solar panels” for widgets and that is exactly what Washington’s professional politicians and career bureaucrats did with $535 million in loan guarantees for Solyndra LLC, the now-bankrupt California company that was the centerpiece of President Obama’s “clean energy future.” The funding came from Obama’s $859 billion economic stimulus program.
Ultimately, Solyndra may prove to be the only Energy Department loan guarantee that explodes into a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome or Credit Mobilier for venality and abuse of the public trust. However, there are at least 16 more such loan guarantees worth in excess of $10 billion, all approved by the same cast of characters at the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for the current mess. And many other federal departments and agencies have provided billions of dollars’ worth of loan guarantees, so nobody should be surprised if Solyndra is only the first of many similar outrages under the Obama economic stimulus regime.
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet in regular session Monday, September 19, 5:30 PM., Ouachita parish courthouse second floor. The courthouse is located on South Grand Street.
See here the agenda.
We had noted that the 2011 tax ordinance was introduced at the 09/06/2011 meeting of the jury. That ordinance is up for final adoption Monday night.
We had also noted that for the second consecutive year, the “V-Vehicle Tax” levied in 2009 was not being collected. However, the tax monies collected for tax year 2009 for that purpose has yet to be refunded as promised.
BE IT RESOLVED by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury in legal and regular session that in the event the voters approve the Proposition and thereafter the Local Contribution does not become due, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury will use its best efforts to refund to the taxpayers such taxes paid as a result of the levy under the authority of the Proposition;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the event said Local Contribution does not become due, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury will not make any future levy pursuant to the authorization of the Proposition;
See here the official minutes of that meeting.
The bankruptcy of Solyndra – a California based manufacturer of solar cells sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) – is likely to wreck any last hopes that the ill-fated V-Vehicle/Next Autoworks project will ever become roadworthy.
The controversial Energy Department loan program that backed a now-bankrupt solar panel maker could nearly double in size by the month’s end. The Department of Energy has until Sept. 30 to give 14 companies final approval for loan guarantees totaling over $9 billion.
The DOE’s Loan Program website shows nothing in the works for the Monroe project. The only Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) project with a conditional commitment is Severstal Dearborn, LLC.
CBS News reported this morning that the program will end on the 30th of this month and that only the projects that are ready to close will be approved.
The Obama administration is moving to finalize as many as 15 loan guarantees for renewable-energy companies before the stimulus program ends on Sept. 30. Republicans question whether that could lead to more loans to companies that fail like Solyndra.
(DOE spokesman) Damien LaVera said the department won’t take any shortcuts during the approval process.
“We will only close the deals that are ready to close on Sept. 30,” he said.
They have managed to stall the refund for two years by claiming the federal loans were about to be approved “within the next few days/weeks/months” whenever the issue was mentioned.
We will be at the OPPJ meeting on Monday, 9/19, and will ask them once again when they will return the taxpayer’s money.
Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has reported extensively on the controversial company and the Monroe project. Archived stories can be found here.
From The Hayride:
The Monroe News-Star has the story this morning of the doings at the Senate Finance Committee, where in marking up the state’s budget bill yesterday Chairman Mike Michot addressed the topic of the $82 million in economic development funds the House had scrubbed. And specifically, the $67 million of that $82 million which is supposed to fund the state’s end of the V-Vehicle/Next Autoworks project.
If Gov. Jindal and his staff were expecting Michot to put that $67 million back into the budget, they were probably disappointed. He doesn’t sound like he’s playing. Michot said that Next Autoworks will have to secure a federal commitment for some $320 million in Department of Energy loans as startup capital before the end of the legislative session, or else they can kiss the state dollars goodbye.