When are We Going to Learn the Truth About Hucksters Using Green Jobs as Bait

Jim Spence
As close to two hundred former Schott Solar workers said goodbye earlier this week one had to wonder when New Mexico is going to say goodbye to politicians in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who continue to call for state taxpayers to throw millions of dollars in free cash at companies selling them “green jobs.

A quick review of what happened with Schott is worthwhile. It began with slick talking promoters from Schott arriving on the New Mexico scene just a few years ago. The company’s management team duped public officials in the city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and state government into giving them all sorts of absurd goodies to set up shop here.
Sadly, Schott wasn’t a tough sell to elected officials. Many Democrats at all three levels of government were anxious to use someone else's money to improve their own pro-green political credentials.
Why should taxpayers be mad at the radical environmentalist movement that helped apply the pressure than enabled Schott to commandeer at least $16 million in Local Economic Development Assistance Program funding for infrastructure development? Because elected officials promoting these green job giveaways were warned that ridiculous promises of permanent 1,500 jobs for New Mexicans was just another illusion.
This week, just a few years after yet another Bill Richardson financial fiasco, Governor Susana Martinez summarized the result. "Instead, (of providing jobs) they're taking our money, closing their doors and leaving our state," Martinez said of Schott late in the week. "The taxpayers should be very upset about that," Governor Susana Martinez added.
How much money got flushed down the toilet this time? In addition to the $16 million Bill Richardson put into the project, the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County also kicked in a combined $1.5 million. Whether the city and county will be reimbursed through so-called "claw back" penalties is unclear.
The bottom line is pretty simple. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party in our state continues to push these boneheaded ideas. Dumb policies like the renewable mandates and the pit rule are just a couple of dozens of cash incinerating laws on the books in New Mexico.
Of course, Governor Martinez would like to clean up this mess and stop throwing away million of taxpayer dollars to huckster scams. But she won’t be able to do so without majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives.