MICHIGAN—Target 8 television in Holland, Michigan is reporting on LG Chem company which created a plant to make Lithium-Ion batteries for the Chevy Volt vehicle. Apparently they even fly their Korean flag over the taxpayer built plant. LG makes phones and batteries for Tracfone which provides “Obama phones.”
Like Solyndra and other “green” projects President Obama demanded in his address to the Congress at the beginning of the year, the failure of the “green” Chevy Volt caused a reduction in the requirement for the 15-million batteries a year this plant was to produce.
Now the workers in this factory play monopoly, Texas Hold ’em and watch movies. Some are working on “government time” at non-profit activities. Workers are not allowed to discuss the problem because of confidentiality agreements.
The factory was given property tax breaks by the State of Michigan if they created 300 jobs. So far they only have 200 and some are quitting because they are tired of having nothing to do. 100 of the workers are paid by the U.S. Government.
The company’s goal: 300 employees pumping out 15 million battery cells a year. Its biggest customer: The Chevrolet Volt.
The U.S. Department of Energy provided a $151 million grant, part of Obama’s Recovery Act.
The Korea-based company recently said it has 200 employees, and the company’s most recent federal filing shows 100 of them are funded through the Recovery Act grant.
The company has spent $133 million so far, most for construction and equipment, records show. About 40% has gone to foreign companies — mostly to Korea, a Target 8 analysis shows.
The company also spent more than $533,000 of that federal grant for the groundbreaking, records show.
A Target 8 analysis of federal records shows taxpayers spent $7 million to train workers and have paid more than $700,000 for workers’ health and dental insurance.
There’s millions of dollars more at stake for LG Chem if it doesn’t keep hiring, or if its job numbers fall. The state approved a $25.2 million job-creation state tax credit over 15 years, and a battery cell state tax credit worth $100 million over 4 years. Both are tied to job creation.
LG Chem has yet to file claims for that money, state officials said.
The City of Holland created a Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone, allowing LG Chem to operate free of property taxes for 15 years — if it reaches 300 employees within 5 years. That’s another $48.5 million. (Target 8)
Read more at Target 8