State should stop gambling with our money (Dohnert)
06/19/2018 Filed in: News Journal
Whenever the state government touts some business proposal promising to generate millions in new tax revenue and to create thousands of high-paying jobs, my reaction is: “Here we go again!”
In 2009, [DE Governor] Jack Markell and [Vice President] Joe Biden gushingly announced that, in exchange for huge financial incen¬tives, Fisker Automotive would build cars at the GM Boxwood Road Plant and create up to 2,500 high-paying jobs. Fisker went bust without building a single car or creating a single new job in Delaware, leaving us taxpayers in the hole for many millions of dollars.
While Fisker was a one-time fiasco, Bloom Energy is a fiasco that keeps on giving. The State entered into a dubious contract that imposes a Bloom surcharge on every Delmarva customer. So far, we have paid well over $130 million in Bloom surcharges.
The laughable part is that to make this appear legitimate, our legislature declared that the natural gas used by Bloom is now a “renewable energy source,” a preposterous assertion. Bloom is in trouble, and its already small workforce is shrinking. So much for all those jobs.
When are the boys down in Dover going to stop playing at high-risk investment banking with our money? They are demonstrably no good at it.
COMMENT: The gambling analogy was used by the News Journal while the details of the package of the taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies for the Bloom Energy investments in Delaware were being hammered out in 2011. See this recap from the SAFE archives:
Where will manufacturing jobs come from?, editorial, 10/25/11 – Bloom Energy & Fisker ventures “hold a lot of promise,” but also “involve a lot of risk.” Both could “succeed wildly” or “fail miserably.” The only sure thing is “to do nothing and watch the middle class disappear.” The loudest criticism of these ventures is claims of “crony capitalism,” just look at that phony ABC News story about Fisker building cars in Finland with the proceeds of a US loan. Let the market support startups? Well, “the market has mostly been helping US startups move overseas where labor is cheaper.” “We are witnessing a vast structural change as products invented here are built overseas, leaving Americans to find service or government jobs.” The Bloom and Fisker projects could have a different result, and “to our mind, that’s worth the gamble.”