Actual example of CA losing green related jobs

Stion solar panel mfg.

Stion solar panel mfg.


As another blogger’s post of California job losses is off the Juice radar I am posting the following Jan 6th story sent to me by Joe Holtzman,one of our regular readers. It was published in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.  

While I surely don’t wish to see us losing any jobs, this is a fact of life that we must recognize. California is not the only state suffering in this recession. Other states are doing “whatever it takes” to create local jobs.   

This story reminds me of  US Senate candidate, and former HP CEO, Carly Fiorina as she addressed supporters as to why they selected Texas over CA for manufacturing products after the acquisition/merger with Compaq. While Texas officials rolled out the red carpet to relocate manufacturing, our state representatives never placed a phone call to urge her to remain in our state.  

I once traveled with an IL. corporation CEO who, during a contract negotiation, told a San Jose Fortune 500 corporation that he would do anything to win their contract renewal so long as it didn’t put his firm out of business. Stated simply we must put our arms around our customers or we run the risk of losing them.  

 What efforts, if any,  did San Jose do to keep this local manufacturing firm from bailing out ?
Stion gets tax exemptions  

Solar panel company promises to bring 1,000 jobs to Hub City in 6 years  

Terry L. Jones • Hattiesbrug American • January 6, 2011  

A $75 million loan isn’t the only incentive state officials used to lure a California-based solar panel manufacturer to Hattiesburg.  

Stion, a San Jose company, will get tax incentives from local governments, too.  

According to guidelines of an agreement approved by Hattiesburg and Forrest County officials Tuesday, Stion will receive local property tax exemptions.  

Instead, the company, which manufactures high-efficiency thin-film solar panels, will pay annual fees to the city and county that will be used to support the company’s presence in Hattiesburg.  

All of this is contingent on the company honoring its commitment to invest $500 million in land, buildings and equipment in Forrest County by 2017.  

Stion will open a production facility in part of the former Sunbeam plant located in the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park.  

The city and county governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Stion, which promised to bring 1,000 jobs to Hattiesburg within six years.  

“As far as the board was concerned, it was an easy decision for us when you’re talking about that much money coming into our local economy,” said David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. “The bottom line, to me, is that this actually isn’t costing Forrest County anything. To the contrary, Forrest County will still be receiving tax revenue – they just won’t be paying as much.”  

The terms of the agreement, to be signed by Hogan and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, stipulated that officials approve a “fee-in-lieu of ad valorem taxes” agreement over a 15-year period for any new property at its facility.  

The annual payments will be due after the company’s capital investment in the facility has reached $100 million, officials said.  

City and county officials said one-third of the projected revenue from Stion will be funneled into local schools.  

The agreement states that 50 percent of revenue local government receives from Stion’s first annual “fee-in-lieu” payments will be allocated to the Forrest County Industrial Park Commission for project support.  

That support includes payments to Pearl River Community College, the Mississippi Polymer Institute and the WIN Job Center for job training, infrastructure improvements to the company’s production plant, and reimbursements for designated utility extensions, site preparations and construction of pollution control equipment.  

It is mandated that only the first six annual payments be allocated to the FCIPC.  

“The revenue that the county will be receiving from Stion is approximately $300,000 starting off,” Hogan said.  

Hogan said that figure will increase gradually over time to several million dollars in the next 10 to 15 years.  

“Ours will probably take similar increases based on what they’re giving us,” DuPree said about the city’s revenue.  

“We’ll be able to be more specific after they determine exactly what they’re going to do.  

“The bottom line is: We have a company that’s going to have a significant impact on tax revenue for the city.”  

The contract stipulates that the city/county support payments can be reduced and eliminated should Stion not meet certain work force requirements.  

For instance, if 200 qualified jobs (new, full-time positions with an average salary of $43,000 a year) haven’t been created by the first payment, the city and county are not obligated to allocate funds to the FCIPC.  

“There will be plenty of monitoring by the MDA, Secretary of State and Area Development Partnership,” DuPree said. “But when someone comes to you and says they’re going to invest $100 million of their own money into your area, and 50 percent of their capacity already sold – that’s the best scenario.”  

The agreement states that Stion must repay the Legislature’s $75 million bond issue with interest in seven to 10 years. The state will monitor Stion’s work force annually at the end of each year of the agreement.

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