According to a report in the Midland Daily News, the now defunct Evergreen Solar plant in Midland is set to go on the bankruptcy auction block. Scott Walker, a local economic development official, told the Daily News that he hopes the facility can be put to use again in a new way.
Perhaps Mr. Walker should talk to Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, who sponsored a bill that would allow a company to manufacture incandescent light bulbs in the state, notwithstanding a federal ban on light bulbs of more than 40 watts that use traditional technology. House Bill 4815, which allows the continued use of incandescent light bulbs if manufactured in Michigan, passed the state House on Oct.13.
Green jobs are favored by the political class, but Michigan workers who are unemployed would appreciate a job no matter what the color. In an all too familiar story, state and local officials once again failed in their attempt to pick economic winners. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority in 2008 granted Evergreen a $1.8 million tax credit. Not to be outdone by the generosity of officials in Lansing, the city of Midland granted the company a tax abatement valued at $3.9 million.
Walker, CEO of Midland Tomorrow, said that Evergreen was a “victim of the free market.” When it comes to green energy projects there is no free market, unless one considers propping up such projects with government loan guarantees, subsidies and tax abatements to be a free market.
It is past time the political class stop wasting taxpayer money on politically favored projects. Government intervention into markets is almost always a loser as officials gamble freely with taxpayer money.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.