Archive for the ‘Stephen Moret’ Category
Start-up auto manufacturer Next Autoworks Co. has withdrawn its application for more than $320 million in federal loans that would have funded a plant in Ouachita Parish, thus ending a project that had been more than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.
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.
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.
Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has obtained a copy of the contract – also known as a cooperative endeavor agreement or CEA – between the State of Louisiana and DG Foods, LLC of Hazlehurst, MS.
See here the document.
Last week it was announced that DG Foods would build a chicken processing plant in Bastrop.
Louisiana may be using federal assistance intended for Hurricane Katrina relief to lure jobs away from Kansas and other states.
Saying it was just a “suspicion,” U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said Friday in Topeka that he and Sen. Sam Brownback had sent a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan asking for an audit of the disaster assistance funds.
Hawker Beechcraft, a major aircraft manufacturer located in Wichita, KS, has received a large offer from the state of Louisiana to move the entire company to Baton Rouge, according to KAKE TV10 in Wichita.
Union officials confirm that contract negotiations between Hawker Beechcraft and the local machinist union have broken down. No contract will be offered this week after officials reported that a coming offer would likely be voted on next Saturday.
Union spokesperson Bob Wood confirmed for KAKE News that the company has received a “large” offer from the state of Louisiana that would involve moving the entire company to Baton Rouge, LA.
Now, Wood says union officials have requested a meeting with Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson and HBC CEO Bill Boisture. That meeting is expected to take place this Tuesday.
UPDATE: 5:20 PM – More sources.
Here are a few more ‘economic development’ agencies in the region, along with their latest tax returns.
Also, there is the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, which was the result of combining the North Louisiana Economic Development Corporation with the Northwest Louisiana Economic Development Foundation.
No tax return for this organization is on file that we could find.
One of the myriad “economic development” agencies dotting the state and area is the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance (NELEA), headed by Tana Trichel. What drew our attention to this particular agency at this particular time was the email she dispatched last Friday, the day before a primary election.
Dear Friends of Economic Development
Our vote is a precious demonstration of our wishes for all that happens in our nation. Please exercise this privilege this Saturday in the Republican Primary.
We have been privileged to have Congressman Rodney Alexander give us direct assistance in our Marketing and Recruiting, many regional initiatives and in our Economic Development endeavors. His assistance has led to many opportunities in our Region.
But the right to vote is within the individual. Vote your political conscience on Saturday, August 28, 2010.
Here’s what is listed on the organization’s tax return as their mission:
To provide economic development, industrial recruitment and readiness, and job creation for the Northeast Louisiana area.
We’re not sure what emailing everyone and boosting Rodney Alexander has to do with economic development, other than an exercise in apple-polishing to make sure the federal dollars keep flowing in.
The organization’s income for the year 2008 consisted exclusively of government grants (translation – taxpayer money) of just over $1 million.
Now let’s look at where the money went.
Trichel’s 2008 salary was $85.5 thousand.
The VP’s salary was $49 thousand.
The 2008 travel budget was $105 thousand.
Other salaries for 2008 was over $235 thousand.
Benefits for 2008 was $75 thousand.
In other words, the total for salaries, benefits and travel eats up over half the revenues of the organization for the 2008 tax year.
Now explain to us again why it’s a good thing to tax the citizenry, keep most of the money for overhead and administration, and then claim that is the way to boost the economy?
See the story in The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune.
Also of interest in the story was that the reporter contacted other government plutocrats and asked when/if they were going to cut their pay.
From the report:
LED does not evaluate the effectiveness of most business incentive programs it administers. Of the 29 business incentive programs LED administered during fiscal year 2008, officials could only provide evidence that the department evaluated the effectiveness of the five entertainment industry business incentive programs. These incentive programs represent approximately $56 million (25.8%) of the $217 million2 in tax incentives LED awarded to businesses during fiscal year 2008. LED could not provide evidence that it evaluated the effectiveness of the remaining $161 million (74.2%) in tax incentives it awarded that year. In addition, LED does not publicly report on the effectiveness of all the business incentive programs it administers. Specifically, LED has not fulfilled two program-specific and one general statutory reporting requirement or a legislative request to annually review the effectiveness of all tax exemptions and tax credits enacted by the legislature.
See the story in The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune.