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Bisso on grants, corporate welfare
October 24, 2012 - Chris Morris
The following commentary by Assembly candidate Karen Bisso, who will be on the Conservative Party line in the Nov. 6 election for New York's 115th Assembly District, was sent as an op-ed, but the Enterprise doesn't print guest commentaries or letters from candidates themselves. So I'm posting it here instead.
The piece is titled "It's Not Just Double-Dipping." It hasn't been edited for length or content.
Everyone has picked up the paper and read where someone has been arrested for welfare fraud; someone that doesn’t need the money or worse yet has a lot of money, cheats the system and gets a taxpayer funded handout. The result is usually steep fines and jail time for the perpetrators. However, there is a new welfare fraud. It not only goes unpunished, but in fact the perpetrators are rewarded. It’s called corporate welfare. Now this is not tax incentives for companies that increase their work force, or buy new equipment. These are financially solvent companies, (many of them foreign), getting cold hard cash for free from American taxpayers, with no repayment required. But instead of calling it what it really is, government has found a new name. Grants.
For some reason, politicians feel that they not only have the right to tell you how much you have to pay, but worse yet, honestly believe that they have the right to pick winners and losers in our economy. The worst thing of all is that this is happening at all levels. An example of this is the highly touted Regional Economic Council. They brag about what wonderful things this will do. Well let’s examine this further. $75,000.00 for a custom pick-up to haul a $100,000.00 mobile chicken plucker. In six months, not one chicken plucked, yet the Malone Senior center can’t get $9,000.00 for a van to deliver 70 meals a day to seniors. $1,000,000.00 to build a slaughterhouse in Ticonderoga. However, Tritown Packing put their own skin in the game and paid for a necessary expansion themselves. Worse yet, $10 million to rebuild an abandoned 34 mile rail line to a closed paper mill. However, if the mill reopened, how many short haul trucking jobs would there be without the Rail Road?
The best examples are Bombardier and Pfizer. Bombardier took $2.5 million in RDEC money for its expansion. Apparently, no one checked their financials to see that they had grossed over $13 BILLION in the last 18 months and had over $200 million cash on hand. Did they really need our money? “Robert Furniss, vice president for Bombardier sales in the US, says the plant would likely have expanded even without state funds” (NCPR, 10/11/12). Now Pfizer had a facility in Chazy they couldn’t sell. The State, through an IDA, bought the building for $1.2 million of our tax dollars. Pfizer financials show $67.4 BILLION in sales with over $10 BILLION cash on hand, not to mention $8 million from selling “unused facilities.”
If you are wondering why politicians who are supposed to represent us allow this to go on? Then maybe you should ask current Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, who says she was “instrumental in securing these funds.” According to her financials, after those multi billion dollar corporations got our money, in return, she got campaign donations from them and thus…Corporate welfare fraud comes full circle. Unfortunately these people are ignoring Ronald Reagan’s warning: Extreme taxation, excessive control, oppressive government competition with business. Frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the product of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy of government by a self anointed elite.
I've reviewed Duprey's financial disclosures and she has in fact received donations from both Pfizer and Bombardier. On a side note, if you want to review donations and expenditures for any candidate, check out the state Board of Elections website.
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