2014-06-25 / Editorial & Columns

Opinion:

EDC Should not use sales tax dollars to fund questionable projects

When Raymondville voters decided to switch from a class B. EDC Corporation to a Class A Corporation most voters didn't realize exactly what they were voting for. The main difference as far as I can see is that the EDC can now fund proposals for job creation that they could not fund under the Class B rules. And EDC board members are using their new found power to finance some questionable projects.

First thing out of the box they came up with $120,000 to financially support a machacado business after the owner promised to hire more workers. That didn't happen after two years, so the EDC pulled the plug on that business.

Next the EDC board decided to pay the Sosa family $170,000 to clean property they bought at a tax auction for $24,500. While everyone likes the fact that the property is being cleaned up some might question the fact that the company hired to do the clean up is not from the city (and the fact that the Sosas own the property they are cleaning up). So much for local job creation. If, however, the city is successful in getting a $400,000 state grant for the Sosas so they can build a cold storage plant and a packing shed on the site, maybe the 30-or-so jobs promised will happen. We hope so.

Now the EDC wants to finance a couple of local men who want to open a Chicken Wings restaurant at the old shopping center. We don't see any end in sight as long as the EDC board has tax money to spend and because it comes from the sales tax, the fund will always be replenished.

I've got a few questions:

* If the EDC grant applicant has a good idea for a business why can't he/she get a bank loan?

* How can the obvious chance for favoritism (small town people know each other) be avoided.

* Does credit worthyness of the applicant have any bearing on the grant?

Of all the grant money given to individuals in this city/ county over the years it is hard to think of one single example that has been a success. Can you think of one example, if so please furnish it and I will send you a dollar in the mail.

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