Does the name Solyndra – mean anything to you?
It’s the California Solar Company that got huge government subsidies (a 535 million-dollar loan guarantee) from Stimulus Funds in 2009. Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011 and laid off about 11-hundred employees.
President Obama praised the solar panel maker as a model of Green Energy and when it failed, “The Party of NO” started thumping their chests!
Florida Representative Cliff Stearns, head of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations for the Energy and Commerce committee said: “In an apparent rush to push stimulus dollars out the door, the Obama Administration wasted $535 million in taxpayer funds in guaranteeing a loan to a firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market.”*
Republican members of the committee churned out a subpoena to get documents from the Office of Management and Budget over the Department of Energy loan.
According to a Forbes article, only this week, Republicans tried to create another Solyndra-type furor over two other solar companies: Bright source Energy (apparently used insiders to get its loan guarantees) and First Solar (whose CEO cashed nearly half-a-million-dollars of his shares while taking public money).
Republicans scheduled a hearing of a subcommittee of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform that oversees the stimulus program. Subcommittee chair, Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio opened the hearing with a withering attack on clean tech companies that seek government assistance.
Republicans DON’T like Clean Energy. The very same subsidies they decry for Solar companies they champion and embrace for big oil, gas and coal companies! Maybe solar companies don’t have deep enough pockets – or lobbyists – or PAC’s – who can fund GOP campaigns and travel?
Fast Forward to this week…
To Curt Schilling.
Name mean anything to you?
He’s a former ace pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who helped the team break its cursed losing streak…in 2004.
Schilling, whom many consider to be a jerk, developed near cult status in Boston. Until he moved from sports icon to political champion – and started campaigning for John McCain! Before you know it, people are speculating about “Curt Schilling for Senate” to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat…
We escaped a Senator Schilling, thank goodness!
Mr. Schilling started a Video Game company: 38 Studios in 2006. Being a Republican, and seeing that they’re ALL born holding a copy of NAFTA rules and regulations (they being natural businessmen) His 38-ness declared: “I understand one thing, that’s big business, and big business is what we’ve allowed to take over in far too many places and in far too many areas that the people need to take back” and he proceeded to do that by establishing a small business.
Mr. Schilling then decided that he needed government subsidies – taxpayer subsidies (like those the department of Energy gave to Solyndra) for his company and decided to play a game of “my ego or yours” with lawmakers.
In 2010, he threatened to move his 4-year-old company to neighboring Rhode Island. The Ocean State was offering Schilling’s company $75 million in loan guarantees. Schilling pledged to bring 450 new jobs to Rhode Island over the next three years. He of course preferred to STAY in liberal Massachusetts but would Massachusetts play ball?
Schilling loaded the bases, confident in his ability to throw a strike. Massachusetts lawmakers told him to: walk!
Have I mentioned that our governor Deval Patrick is a loyal Obama friend and colleague, who, like the president, is also from Chicago?
- Did I say that Curt Schilling supported Republican Charlie Baker (against Deval Patrick) for governor in 2010?
- And that Schilling contributed to Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin in their 2008 presidential bid against Obama?
Naturally none of that factored into any decisions…of course.
Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts secretary of housing and economic development, said: Schilling apparently hoped his discussions with Rhode Island officials would goad Massachusetts into making him a better offer. Although Bialecki said he had discussed possible tax breaks with Schilling earlier this year, in the end Massachusetts was unwilling to offer such a big incentive package to one company.
Schilling took off, went to Rhode Island…with the following conditions:
- 38 Studios must pay $8 million in annual fees to the economic development agency over the 10-year life of the loan.
- The company must create 450 new jobs in stages over three years
- 38 Studios pays a penalty of $7,500 per year for each job it fails to create on schedule.
- The company must pay Rhode Island an annual ‘guaranty fee’ each May.
- Loan comes from lending institutions, not the state, BUT Rhode Island taxpayers are stuck with the unpaid balance of the loan if 38 Studios fails.
- The state gets first rights to all of the company’s collateral, including intellectual property rights to any 38 Studios games. (The company unveiled its much-anticipated first game: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in February.)
- Rhode Island can use that to recover money if the company can’t repay the loans.
Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the campaign of Massachusetts Republican Charles D. Baker, said Schilling’s departure was an example of a “toxic business climate’’ created by Democratic incumbent Governor Deval Patrick. (No wonder Baker lost, with advice like that!)
Free from the weight of Mr. Schilling’s ego, Massachusetts bounced back. The latest unemployment figures (May 17) put the Bay State’s unemployment rate at 6.3 percent last month (April 2012).
And Schilling? Well, this week his company was unable to pay workers Thursday (May 17/2012) and the check for this year’s 1.25 million-dollar guaranty payment to Rhode Island, due this month, bounced.
Bureau of labor Statistics figures put Rhode Island’s unemployment rate in March 2012 at: 11.1 percent. Massachusetts was: 6.5 percent.
- In 2009: Rhode Island’s unemployment rate (civilian non-institutional population) was at: 10.8 percent. In 2010 it was: 11.6 percent. Massachusetts was: 8.2 and 8.5 percent.
Back then when Schilling decided to move his company to Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee – running for governor of Rhode Island as an independent – described Curt Schilling as: “I just remember his own teammates didn’t like him…they thought he was a bit of a salesman…”
Chafee said more, but I am first and foremost a Red Sox fan. Yes. Still!
So where are the Republicans?
Any calls for an investigation?
Any subpoena here to examine the agreement with a “firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market”?*
Solyndra’s loan is much bigger and worthy of investigation…
Like he said back then: “Any responsible entrepreneur exhausts every avenue of potential funding when running a start-up company; we’re no different.’’ He had a responsibility to his 180 employees to explore every option to make 38 Studios a success.
Listen up, Solyndra – when the Department of Energy dangled those millions in front of you, you did what? Exhausted an avenue of potential funding! Exhaust indeed…
In February 2011, Mr. Schilling said: “There can be no question our country is in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I also think there can be no question that it falls on us, the individuals, to find a way out of our own personal crisis.”
Well now – find your way, Mr. Schilling – or maybe it’s easier to TALK, huh, especially when we have NO idea what the heck we’re talking about – as in the usual Republican style!
Background Boston Globe.