Hey, remember in January, when the state Emergency Board approved two grants from the Vermont Enterprise Fund? GlobalFoundries was given $1 million, and $200,000 went to BHS Composites. Well, turns out those will be the last VEF grants ever awarded. During its recently concluded session, the Legislature rejected Governor Shumlin’s bid to add new money to the Fund — and decided not to extend the program.
The Fund is empty, and in the absence of legislative action, the program will sunset at the end of the fiscal year.
“It’s disappointing,” says Shumlin spox Scott Coriell*. “The Enterprise Fund has been a useful tool, but we do have other tools at our disposal.”
*Say that five times fast.
There was some funny business around those January grants that may have sealed the fate of the two-year-old program.
Yesterday, State of the State Address: Governor Shumlin introduces a variety of people whose stories illustrate the impact of his policies. They include two executives from GlobalFoundries and two from BHS Composites. The latter was a surprise entry; Shumlin sprang the news that BHS had decided to open a facility in the Northeast Kingdom, creating an estimated 70 jobs.
Today, the state’s Emergency Board met on very short notice to approve state grants to both companies: $1 million for GF and $200,000 for BHS. VTDigger has the deets:
The Emergency Board, which includes the four chairs of the Legislature’s money committees and Gov. Peter Shumlin as the chair, voted at a largely hush-hush meeting that started at 8:30 a.m.
The Shumlin administration did not formally announce the morning meeting until Thursday afternoon, following his State of the State address.
The information in the meeting’s agenda packet, which was printed on Dec. 29, was considered confidential.
Hm. The agenda packet was printed eleven days ago, and the meeting wasn’t warned until yesterday afternoon — less than 24 hours beforehand.
Okay, so the administration sat on the news so the Governor could make a splash. Great. But if Shumlin ever wonders why he has a reputation as a slippery dealmaker, well, here it is.