WASTE WATCH: FOX17 Investigation Reveals Broken Promises, Wasted Money
Updated: Wednesday, November 20 2013, 10:34 PM CST
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Millions of your tax dollars spent on land and tax breaks to lure a big company to Clarksville. In return, Hemlock Semiconductor promised hundreds of good paying jobs and a booming business. In tonight's WASTE WATCH SPECIAL REPORT, FOX17's Erika Lathon shows us how little taxpayers have received for their money. Only Phase I of the Hemlock Plant has been built. Hundreds of workers were laid off soon after being hired. So far, the plant hasn't manufactured much of anything. In 2008, Clarksville was buzzing with excitement.
Hemlock Semiconductor promised to hire 500 full time workers to manufacture poly silicon materials for solar cells. The company was investing $1 billion. They were also getting millions in tax breaks and government incentives - money that taxpayers were told was an investment.
Just a few years later, Hemlock stopped construction after Phase I, laying off hundreds of workers and failing to produce any poly silicone. Governor Haslam didn't negotiate the Hemlock deal, but knows what the incentives cost.
Money that taxpayers may never get back. Montgomery County bought Hemlock's mega site.
Currently the market for poly silicon is saturated. According to Hemlock, trade and tariff disputes between China and the U.S. are hindering production. It's unclear if the company will ever deliver on what it promised. Still, the incentives aren't going away anytime soon as states compete with one another to land jobs for their people, an expensive recruiting game when companies don't deliver on promises of jobs, as Tennessee has learned. Hemlock has started repaying the $17 million in bonds the city borrowed to purchase the 1200 acre site.
The Haslam Administration says while incentives are important, it's working to include more provisions to protect taxpayers if a company fails to deliver on its promises. You can see all our WASTE WATCH stories at Fox17.com.
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