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Now’s your Chance, Senator Obenshain! You Can Stop a Bit of Crony Capitalism: The Micron Deal in Manassas!

Several weeks ago, I reported on the encouraging email I received from State Senator Obenshain in re his objection to a crony capitalist deal involving settlement money from the Volkswagen emissions litigation.  Here’s a sample or two:

You guessed it…last week, our Governor unilaterally decided to use all $14 million of the first installment to have a company called EVGo from neighboring socialist country…I mean California…set up electric vehicle stations in heavily congested areas in Virginia.  (Translation: Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax)

You’re not mis-reading this…$14M. On car charging stations.

This is social(ist) engineering at its worst.

I, for one, don’t appreciate the Northam Administration’s attempt to engineer social change and influence what I should or should not drive. Get your hands out of my life. The government doesn’t run gas stations; and it shouldn’t be setting up car charging stations either.

If that’s not enough, here’s what I know about EVgo. It’s based in Los Angeles. Its CEO is Cathy Zoi who has collectively given almost $17,000 (that we know of) over the last ten years to liberals like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  She is a George Soros associate and is the founding CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, which was established and chaired by Al Gore.

We could’ve done so much better with that $14M. Rather than use it towards I-81 improvements, or increasing funding for soil & water conservation districts, or for incentivizing agricultural best management practices (all of which have an environmental impact on our Commonwealth), the Governor decided that Virginians would be better served by a crony capitalist deal with a California company, led by a Soros associate, installing electric car charging stations.

My comment is:  Preach it brother!  But both major parties are implicated in this stuff.  But I gave the senator (who I voted for [for AG] and generally like and support) the benefit of the doubt:

I’ll help you, Senator Obenshain, at this blog and on the hill, when you introduce those bills to repeal Go Virginia and the Film Office and take on crony capitalism – in both parties!

Well, it’s time!  In the Richmond Times-Dispatch today we have this little gem:

Micron to invest $3 billion in Virginia expansion, with $70 million in state incentives

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh, my!  Senator Obenshain, we need your help right now!

It gets worse (emphasis added):

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership developed an incentive package with Manassas and the Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission, comprised of high-ranking legislators and state officials. The centerpiece of the package is a $70 million performance grant for Micron to prepare the site and other facility costs. It is subject to approval by the General Assembly when it reconvenes in early 2019.

So, let’s see, the taxpayers of Virginia get to help a private company get a parcel of land ready for a factory – technically a factory expansion – to be built!  And several of the legislative leaders have bought onto it!  (Here is the statute authorizing this little gem called the Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission and again, 39 senators and 99 or 100 delegates voted for it!)

Two things wrong with this:

  • Where’s your factory expansion, Mr. Small Businessman?  Betcha you have to pay for it yourself.  But you pay the taxes.  It is unfair treatment.  And the risk of the pols favoring their friends is high.
  • It is taking from poor taxpayers (and middle-class and even rich ones) to subsidize a private corporation – here is some info for Micron for my readers – the highlights of their 3rd quarter report:

Fiscal Q3 2018 Highlights

  • Revenues of $7.80 billion, up 40 percent compared with the same period last year
  • GAAP net income of $3.82 billion, or $3.10 per diluted share
  • Non-GAAP net income of $3.90 billion, or $3.15 per diluted share
  • Operating cash flow of $4.26 billion, compared with $2.41 billion for the same period last year
  • Ended the quarter with a net cash positive position

Remember, this is just the THIRD QUARTER!

And here is the Governor’s take spin on this:

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Manassas and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Micron will be eligible to receive an MEI custom performance grant of $70 million for site preparation and facility costs, subject to approval by the Virginia General Assembly. Additionally, the City of Manassas and utility partners are providing a broader, comprehensive support package to enable the expansion, including substantial infrastructure upgrades and additional incentives.

Remember Sandy’s Tip of the Iceberg Rule!

This $70,000,000 (I like to write it out – more impressive!  And it’s YOUR money!) could have been spent on teachers, school buildings, (toilet paper for school buildings even!), roads, heck, it would be a tremendous start on a statewide indigent defense system!

More from the Governor’s press release from the local state senator (I did not add emphasis):

“Micron Technologies is not only a global leader in advanced manufacturing, but they also have a proven record of commitment to our community,” said Senator Jeremy McPike. “Micron’s outreach in our schools, through robotic programs, internships, and STEM education, is helping to prepare our kids for the jobs of the future. Today’s announcement will result in 1,100 new high-paying jobs close to home. I look forward to the continued partnership with Micron Technologies and our community in the years to come.”

Too bad, Senator McPIke, I am sure that Senator Obenshain will fight this tooth and nail.  Right along side an aroused electorate and Sandy the blogger!

Let me do a brief thought experiment:  1,100 jobs sounds like a lot – and it is a lot.  But let’s assume the average employee at this company earns $100,000 a year and pays 6% Virginia income tax:  The tax collected in a year would be (best case scenario) is $6,600,000 per year.  So it would take over ten years to recoup the $70,000,000 grant!  (And you know $100,000 year does not pay $6,000 in state income tax!)

But let me also say:  Here is one of the grants the senator refers to:

Micron Foundation Establishes $1 Million Fund for Virginia Colleges and Universities to Advance STEM and STEM-related Diversity Programs


Announced on today, August 29, 2018!  Imagine That!  So the company is going to give back a poor measly million dollars when they know they’ll get $70,000,000 plus next year!

Not if I have any say about it!

So contact your senator and delegate today and say these famous words:  NO WAY!  If Micron wants to expand their factory, let them spend their own money on it.



About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

One Response to “Now’s your Chance, Senator Obenshain! You Can Stop a Bit of Crony Capitalism: The Micron Deal in Manassas!”

  1. Robert Shannon


    You are absolutely correct on the issue, but terribly misdiagnosing the problem. You can’t cure a disease by treating the symptoms, the root cause must be attacked.
    Why are and where are the local republican party folks ? Where are the RPV folks ?
    What you are missing Sandy is that most of the republicrats in the G.A and Congress support this nonsense. One legislator is not going to stop this, absent wholesale condemnation by the republicrats apparatus this will continue.

    Local republicans where are you, why are you so silent on this ? Slaves to K Street and the big money donors who have their lips suckling on the government teat themselves.
    Bob Shannon King William PIT BULL


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Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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