Okay, here’s my promised post about the Vermont Enterprise Incentive Fund.
It’s garbage. It stinks. It’s an insult to everyone, liberal or conservative, who believes in good government.
It needs to die. Or at the very least, it needs a complete overhaul. Strong words, but I can back ’em up.
The Enterprise Fund, for those just joining us, is a program of state grants for businesses moving to, or making significant investments in, Vermont. It is meant to be used in “unforeseen or extraordinary circumstances.” Those are Governor Peter Shumlin’s own words, quoted from his own press release.
The Fund was most recently deployed last Friday with a $1 million grant to GlobalFoundries, in support of a $72 million investment in its Essex Junction facility. In a number of ways, this grant seems at odds with the Fund’s stated purpose. Let’s start with this: GlobalFoundries announced the investment in October. By November, it had already invested $55 million of the money.
So, absent a time machine, how could an investment made in October be contingent on a state grant approved three months later?
Even if you ignore that anomaly, if the investment is already well underway, how in the world can you classify it as “unforeseen or extraordinary”?
Well, you can’t. In the words of State Auditor Doug Hoffer, this grant was “basically a thank-you note.”
A million-dollar thank-you note. Next time, maybe just go to Capitol Stationers. They have a very nice selection.