Diary

REP. GARY PETERS (D) MI-9, EARMARKS & ENERGY CONVERSION DEVICES

The following article was originally written on August 20th and is being updated today with the revelation of what was in the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010.

“I now believe that Members of Congress should not be allowed to request funding for local projects without also having a long-term deficit reduction plan in place,” Rep. Peters added. “I am hopeful that if we stop Members of Congress from being able to request funding for their own projects that may provide greater incentive for creating a long-term deficit reduction plan.” The Hill

Rep. Gary Peters ranks 277 out of 435 lawmakers in earmarks, even Barney Frank and Maxine Waters were ranked higher with fewer earmarks. Considering that data from Open Secrets consist of earmarks from lawmakers from fiscal years 2008 – 2010, Gary Peters sponsored or co-sponsored 15 earmarks totaling $12,319,800 in fiscal year 2010 alone. But, there is one earmark that I would like to discuss and that is $1.2 million for a company called United Solar Ovonics or Energy Conversion Devices out of Auburn Hills, MI.

From Rep. Peters Congressional page he has the following:

I am requesting $1,500,000 in funding for Photovoltaic Rooftop Systems for Military Housing in fiscal year 2010. The entity to receive funding for this project is:

United Solar Ovonic3800 Lapeer Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326

The funding would be used for the development of rugged non glass photovoltaic (PV) rooftop systems designed specifically for military housing. The learning curve from the project will help reduce deployment cost ensuring large-scale application of PV for DOD and other federal buildings. This will lower energy costs, reduce pollution and create green collar jobs in Oakland County, both in the manufacturing as well as in the building sectors.

Since the year 2000, United Solar Ovonics has received $39 million in Defense Contracts and more recently $13.3 in Stimulus funds to be used to invest $42 million in Auburn Hills.  However, effective this fall, the Company said it will shift certain final assembly operations from its Auburn Hills, Mich. campus to its Tijuana, Mexico facility which will result in the loss of 140 jobs in the area. This layoff is over and above the December announcement from ECD in December 2009 that it would be laying off 20% of their workforce or 400 employees after losing nearly $12 million in the final quarter of 09.

According to Daily Finance, an AOL finance group, ECD’s solar films are less efficient at converting sunlight into power than conventional solar panels. … As a result, project developers tend to favor more efficient solar panels.

ECD’s 3rd quarter statement per Business Week reported loses even with a $385 million write-down.
Update:
From the legislation is this passage:
* Other Innovative Loan Programs: States may develop new programs to bolster
small business lending. A state must establish that, in total, their programs
will support at least ten dollars in private lending for every dollar in federal
support. Participating lenders must share in the risk of default with the
government.

This legislation that has passed is no different from TARP as those businesses that default on their loans will be protected with tax payer funds.  As an acquaintance of mine recently stated:  they are rewarding failure – while penalizing the successful and responsible businesses.
On November 2, 2010, voters of MI-9 have an opportunity to show Rep. Gary Peters the door and vote in Rocky Raczkowski in order to restore fiscal conservatism in our Congress and accountability with our hard earn tax paying funds.  The 9th District can no longer afford this mindless irresponsibility that has been displayed since January 2009.