Perry’s corporate slush fund keeps making news, and not the good kind

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Had Enough Yet?, Money In Politics, Taxes at 11:05 am by wcnews

The numerous problems with the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) have been apparent, for anyone willing to see them, for quite a while, (see State Development Fund Rewards Hype: Incentives Great, Penalties Few For Companies That Overstate Their Benefits). The TEF allows the Governor, with tacit approval of Lt. Gov. and Speaker, to hand out corporate welfare to supposedly “attract new business to the state..”. From what Gov. Perry and his GOP cohorts always say, Texas already being such a great place for businesses, that they wouldn’t have to bribe them to come here.

But as we continue to find out the TEF is not living up to its billing, Recession Pounds Perry’s Jobs Fund.

Key findings of TPJ’s analysis reveal:

* The Governor’s Office has awarded $363 million to 45 TEF recipients to create or maintain 47,735 jobs. These projects claimed 31,319 jobs in compliance reports covering 2008.

* Just 13 of the 45 job-related projects reviewed were performing well.

*As of October 2009 the Governor has penalized 11 TEF grantees for defaulting on their job creation commitments. These penalties, totaling $647,100, amount to just 1 percent of the $64 million in TEF funding that they received.

* The Governor has imposed the “death penalty” on just two TEF projects despite the fact that many other TEF recipients have qualified for termination.

* In February 2009, Perry declared that the TEF program had created 54,000 jobs since 2003. More than one-third of these jobs are pledges that have yet to materialize.

There’s much more. The Texas Observer had this story earlier in the year, Slush Fun, which shows that several companies that received money from the TEF, gave money to Perry in the form of campaign contributions.

Many companies that have received money from the fund have, in turn, aided the governor. An Observer investigation has found that 20 of the 55 Enterprise Fund companies have either given money directly to Perry’s campaign (through their political action committees or executives) or donated to the Republican Governors Association, a Washington, D.C.-based group that Perry presided over in 2008.

The 20 companies have received a combined $174.2 million from the Enterprise Fund. During the same time period, those 20 corporations have donated $2.2 million to Perry and the governors association. Several companies made donations around the time they received grants from the Enterprise Fund. It’s even possible that taxpayer money from the fund came full circle into Perry’s own campaign.

Over the weekend Kuff had this from, More Enterprise Fund failures, a recent HCrhon article on more corporations that have received Perry’s TEF welfare that are not living up to their potential. And today the Texans for Public Justice (TPJ) have word of more problems with the TEF, TPJ Calls on Perry, Dewhurst & Straus To Investigate State Grant to Sematech.

Texans for Public Justice today urged Texas’ top three officials who oversee the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to investigate if Sematech, Inc. violated the 2004 contract it signed to obtain $40 million in state funds. Governor Rick Perry’s highly-touted Enterprise Fund awarded the high-tech consortium $40 million in 2004 to establish the Advanced Material Research Center (AMRC) in Austin. Sematech’s subsequent dealings with the State of New York strain the terms of its TEF contract—arguably to the breaking point. In a letter today to Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus, TPJ called for a probe into Sematech’s contract compliance, urging the officials to either “enforce compliance or recover the scarce funds that failed to deliver the promised benefits.”


“The Enterprise Fund is crying out for greater accountability, transparency and oversight. The Sematech fiasco highlights Governor Perry’s conflicts in both awarding and enforcing Enterprise Fund grants,” said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice. “The governor is quick to tout the promised jobs but slow to make corporate welfare recipients live up to the terms of their handouts.”


“If Sematech is two-timing Texas, Perry needs to get our $40 million back,” added McDonald.

View TPJ’s letter to Perry, Dewhurst and Straus.

Of course Democratic candidate for Texas Governor Bill White has proposed an audit of Perry’s TEF, and Texans agree it is needed.

This is one area where Texans can see the unchecked powers that Perry has accumulated from being in office for too many years. Perry believes, because he’s been in power for so long, that like a King he can do as he pleases. He also thinks that because he’s been returned to office, over and over again, that whatever he does it right and Texans will go along. If Perry is returned to office again we can only imagine how much more of our money, for four more years, will go to corporations in this manner.

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