Lets do Real Economic Development for a Change

With the apparent demise of the V-Vehicle (aka Next Autworks) scam, we think it time to reconsider just what is “economic development.” Yesterday, Louisiana’s House Appropriation Committee used some $80 million plus that had been sitting in the Louisiana Department of Economic Development’s (LED) Mega Fund to cover shortfalls in the state’s budget.

Next Autoworks plan sputters

About $67 million of that money had been promised to the ephemeral car project when/if a loan from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program materialized.

First thing that should happen is that the LED should be shuttered and all its staff let go to find gainful employment in the private sector. There simply is no reason for the agency to exist now that it no longer has any money to hand out.

Taxpayer monies must be returned to its rightful owners – the taxpayers – who are the REAL economic development agents in society.

The concept that government workers in Baton Rouge know better than the taxpayers how best to handle money is not logical.

Next, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) should return the property taxes it collected for the project a year and a half ago. They were supposed to return it a year ago, but have managed to stall the refund by claiming the federal loans were to be approved “within the next few days/weeks.”

True economic development is when the people who earn the money are able to decide on their own what to do with it, rather than having it seized by government.

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