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Creating a Solar Eclipse

How’s this for short term memory? The dust has barely settled from the state government losses of taxpayer money into Eclipse Aviation:

In its November bankruptcy filing, Eclipse said it had more than $1 billion in liabilities and 5,000-plus creditors, but only between $100 million and $500 million in assets.

Among the creditors is the ” New Mexico State Investment Council, which has an outstanding $19 million investment in the company, only $5 million of which in secure debt.

And, they’re all set to throw taxpayer money at another startup venture:

Bernalillo County will have to spend $4.5 million to acquire land for a proposed solar manufacturing site on the far West Side because developer SunCal Cos. couldn’t meet deadlines for the project.

SunCal was supposed to acquire and donate the property for the proposed Solar Array Ventures Inc. operation in exchange for the county taking over the developer’s obligation to build a water line to the project.

Bernalillo County Manager Thaddeus Lucero said SunCal could not meet a Solar Array Ventures, or SAVe, timeline to acquire the land, forcing the county to take on both the land acquisition and water-line construction responsibilities at a cost of about $8.5 million.

“We can’t wait. No one wants to wait,” Lucero said.

The county now will fund the project with bond proceeds, but will be paid back through $8.5 million in state money promised by Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration. The state money will be doled out to the county over about two years, county economic development coordinator Daniel Gutierrez said. The county will still have to pay some interest on its bonds, he said.

The land donation is part of a nearly $200 million incentive package for the solar manufacturer, which expects to employ about 200 workers by 2010 and eventually more than 1,000.

Now, I don’t know anything about Solar Array Ventures, so I’ve no desire to disparage the company. I’m just saying that it should not be the government’s role to take taxpayer money and utilize it for speculative investments.

If the government wants to encourage economic growth, then how about just removing or seriously reducing taxes on ALL businesses as opposed to handing out cash packages to individual businesses in particular industries.