Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rep. Drew Darby to Provide No Oversight

Texas State Representative Drew Darby sits on the Business and Industry Committee, serving as its Chairman of Budget and Oversight. One might expect oversight for promises made by companies getting millions in Texas taxpayer dollars, via the Texas Enterprise Fund.

For $35 million dollars, Vought Aircraft Industries promised to add 3,000 jobs by 2009. During the time of their commitment, Vought employed 3,300 in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. That makes their job total 6,300. They don't employ that company wide.

New jobs were to come from shutting down Nashville operations and locating Boeing 787 Dreamliner production in Texas. Neither happened. Vought took $52 million in South Carolina taxpayer money for a factory building Dreamliner fusilages. They manufactured badly enough, that Boeing blamed a Vought JV for production backlogs.

Vought's CEO blamed an internal liquidity crisis for slow plant operations start up. Lack of capital? Hardly, Vought is owned by The Carlyle Group. Not long ago the private equity underwriter bragged of $40 billion in dry powder.

Which leads us back to original $35 million in Texas taxpayer funding. One might expect a Texas legislator charged with "industry oversight" to have Vought's promise high on his agenda. He stated in his correspondence:

"While I understand and support your concern for the inappropriate use of the state's Texas Enterprise Fund, at this time the 81st Legislature is not addressing this particular issue."

But they might in 2011, when Vought's goal is two years in the rear view mirror? Sorry, Rep. Darby. The time is now. Texans could use the promised 3,000 additional jobs or a $35 million refund. That is, if he really serves the people? Can one reach Chairman of Oversight for Business and Industry these days without kow towing to American branded multinationals?

(Note: Rep. Darby later provided information as to how the State plans to hold Vought accountable for job promises)

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