Delaware taxpayers appear to be getting soaked twice under a deal in which the Democratic governor loaned $21.5 million to a hybrid electric carmaker to set up shop in the state. The company has yet to produce a car in Delaware, and taxpayers are footing the electric bill for the idle plant.
The deal was enthusiastically announced in 2009 by Gov. Jack Markell and Vice President Biden—formerly Delaware’s senior senator—as a way to bring as many as 2,500 green jobs to the state. But California-based Fisker Automotive Inc. has since suffered a series of setbacks that have compounded its shaky financial situation.
“It has not worked out the way he had envisioned,” Markell spokeswoman Cathy Rossi acknowledged Monday in a statement to FoxNews.com. “We didn’t know and couldn’t have known about the underlying technical and financial problems.”
Delaware reportedly has paid at least $400,000 in utility bills since about April, when Fisker halted operations and laid off dozens of workers at the 142-acre, Wilmington-area facility. Markell staffers told The News Journal the payments are part of the grant deal and necessary to at least keep Fisker’s small-scale operation on life support.
Fisker opened for business in 2007, and its early problems were largely related to such technical issues as steering and emissions.
However, in February the U.S. Energy Department stopped disbursements on Fisker’s $529 million loan because the company purportedly failed to meet production and sales goals on its electric plug-in sedan, the Karma.
The Kar-ma? Oy, what a goldmine for one liners that one is. “Hey, I hear that Fiskers new hybrid only drives in circles! Yup, what goes around, comes around”.
“This is never a good roll for the government—corporate welfare,” said Paul Chesser, an associate fellow at the conservative-leaning National Legal and Policy Center. “Let the market put up the money, not the taxpayer.”
Chesser also points out the similarities of California-based solar company Solyndra going bankrupt after receiving nearly $530 million in federal loan money from the Obama administration.
“There’s a trend of companies with no track record—or in this case failure—being worthy of government investment,” he said.
No, really? And it gets better: the Karma ran on batteries built by A123 battery company. You know, the one that Oxama dumped a few hundred million into, only to have it go belly up a short while later. And is now owned by the damned Chinese. It almost ... like this whole thing was planned to fail from the get-go. Like, it’s karma or something.
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