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BTES to Shift Corporate Welfare onto Consumers

Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES, the power company) is setting aside $200,000 over the next two years to use as subsidized loans for private business. The cost of this latest effort at "economic development" will certainly be cost-shifted onto local power bills.

This public subsidy "loan" program will go to businesses that "show their potential to create or retain jobs, add capital investment or otherwise improve the community's economic strength." That is the catch, "retain jobs." That excuse is often used to simply distribute public money into private bank accounts without showing any public benefit or new jobs. The public is barred from verifying if any of the conditions were even met because of privacy clauses.

Local politicians are fearful of tax hikes and struggle to find ways to disburse corporate welfare every business seems to think is a right. So the 33,000 BTES customers in Bristol, Tennessee and Sullivan County won't notice a few more pennies tacked onto their utility bills to cover public subsidies to selected private business. This allows Bristol politicians to defacto raise taxes and hide where those taxes are going. Ref. BHC July 31, 2012.