Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waivers: Solyndra Didn't Pay Sales Tax, Either

Breaking ground for the half-billion-dollar Solyndra solar-panel plant that Joe Biden said would produce 500 MV of solar power each year, not to mention 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs. Instead, Solyndra fired its 1,100 employees with no notice or pay.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, Solyndra didn't merely rush away with $535 in loan money as it slid down greased skids into bankruptcy--it picked up another $27 million from California in sales tax breaks.

Like for the federal loan, California largesse with taxpayer dollars wasn't experienced by just one "green" company.  No, the California state tax waiver granted to Solyndra was (and remains) available to other "special" businesses, that is, the "clean-energy" companies you hear so much about, those that can't stay in business unless you work extra hours to support them.
Separately, lawmakers in Sacramento questioned a $27-million tax break given to Solyndra under a state law intended to encourage clean-energy companies to do business in California.

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who co-wrote the bill, said he planned to examine the tax break at a hearing this fall.
"We're certainly revisiting the due diligence that was done before an award was given," he said.
I wonder where State Senator Padilla thinks he's going to find the "due diligence" to "revisit" the prior "due diligence."
Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert) said he intended to ask Treasurer Bill Lockyer's staff to explain "what their vetting process was."
Go ahead, Treasurer Lockyer. Tell the nice gentleman what you are really thinking: "Vetting process? State treasurers in charge of taxpayer dollars don't need no stinkin' vetting process."
The law, which was approved unanimously by the state Senate and Assembly and signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in March 2010, exempts qualified clean-technology companies from paying sales tax when buying manufacturing equipment.

The law established a committee to review applications from companies that sought the tax breaks. In November, Solyndra applied for a credit that would allow it to avoid paying nearly $35 million in sales tax on the purchase of more than $380 million of equipment.

The request was granted, but the company used only $27 million of the credit before it went out of business, said Joe DeAnda, a Lockyer spokesman.
Gee. $35 million minus $27 million: That's $8 million of taxpayer earnings that Solyndra sloppily let slip from its grasp. Doubtless the California Legislature will remedy that situation promptly, likely with other "indirect benefits from state agencies" to other so-called "green" companies cast in the Solyndra mold:
Under the California Solar Initiative, a program created by Schwarzenegger and the Legislature, customers that bought Solyndra-manufactured solar-power modules received about $4.9 million in state subsidies, according to Terrie Prosper, a spokeswoman for the California Public Utilities Commission.
Hold onto the dollars you saved in subsidies, Solyndra customers. Something tells me that those warranties of Solyndra products you were counting on will not be honored.


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