December 3 2012
Mississippi taxpayers are the victims of another risky taxpayer-funded venture gone wrong.
According to Bloomberg, despite being promised at least 500 new jobs, “Mississippi taxpayers may have only an empty Senatobia building and solar panel equipment to show for $26 million in loans to Twin Creeks Technologies.”
Twin Creeks Technologies, a California solar technology firm is liquidating following massive taxpayer-funded loan, tax breaks, other aid given by the state in the last two years. Despite government assistance, the firm was unable to compete with Chinese solar technology production. Bloomberg explains:
Twin Creeks, like many American solar firms, was swamped by a wave of cheap solar panels imported from China, said Kathy Gelston, chief financial officer for the Mississippi Development Authority.
Twin Creeks also struggled to make its equipment produce energy at a high-enough rate... the company never had more than 25 employees.
The article explains the state is fighting to receive some of its investment back:
…Officials are negotiating for Twin Creeks to repay aid above the value of the 85,000-square-foot building and equipment. The state loaned Senatobia $15 million to construct the building and $8.2 million to buy equipment. It also transferred $3.5 million to the city, mainly in a loan but partially in a grant, to prepare the site and build infrastructure.
…Lenders sold Twin Creeks' technology for $10 million to GT Advanced Technologies of Nashua, N.H., in mid-November… Twin Creeks received about $3 million from the sale, but there are creditors in addition to the state of Mississippi.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, Twin Creek Technologies is another firm that received a state taxpayer-funded hand up and still failed to compete in markets. Twin Creeks Technologies is yet more proof governments should not invest taxpayer money in risky businesses.