The fact that the new facility we are announcing today is represented by not one but two congressmen gives you an idea of its enormity. In the 2003 legislative session, Texas made an unprecedented commitment to bring jobs and opportunity to Texas by establishing the $295 million Texas Enterprise Fund. In just 18 months, we have allocated more than $200 million of those funds to bring more than 22,000 new jobs to Texas and pump more than $6 billion into our economy.
Because of the Enterprise Fund we landed the largest capital investment in the nation last year, a $3 billion expansion by Texas Instruments, with a $50 million grant to the University of Texas at Dallas. The Enterprise Fund helped us secure the largest job expansion in the nation in the first quarter of this year by persuading Vought Aircraft to consolidate operations and bring 3,000 additional jobs to North Texas. Austin will gain 500 Home Depot corporate jobs, Citgo is bringing 700 jobs to its new headquarters in Houston, and even smaller towns like Ennis, Brownwood and Nacogdoches will experience job growth thanks to the Texas Enterprise Fund. By any measure, the Enterprise Fund has been an unparalleled success, so successful in fact that Site Selection Magazine called it the state’s “not-so-secret-weapon” in the battle to create jobs when the publication named Texas the number one state in America to do business last month.
Today we are not only building upon the Enterprise Fund’s tremendous record of creating jobs, we are unveiling its crowning jewel. I am proud to announce that the state of Texas is investing $20 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to help Countrywide Financial bring 7,500 additional jobs to Texas over the next 6 years. This is the largest job creation announcement in the United States since 2000 according to Site Selection Magazine, and proof that the Enterprise Fund is a key reason Texas is leading the nation to economic recovery. You can consider the Countrywide expansion to be “Exhibit A” as to why we need to continue to invest state dollars in the Texas Enterprise Fund.
Angelo Mozilo, thank you for your commitment to creating jobs and greater opportunity for the people of Texas. I also want to thank the city and county officials, as well as numerous economic development and business leaders who worked as a team to bring this project to fruition.
In January, Countrywide will begin phase one of an expansion that will bring 2,500 new employees to their 500,000 square foot Richardson office over the next two years. By 2011, Countrywide will bring another 5,000 new jobs to Texas. This expansion will more than double Countrywide’s presence in Texas, and ensure that this outstanding employer remains a driving force in the state’s economy. In total, Countrywide will make a $200 million capital investment in the Texas economy, an amazing ten-fold return on the state’s $20 million investment. That investment means more money circulating in our economy, and more revenue generated for critical priorities like healthcare and education.
The competition for this project was tough, and Countrywide received attractive offers from several other states. But because of our cooperative efforts, Richardson and the entire state of Texas will reap tremendous benefits for decades to come. And what great news that is the Telecom Corridor, here good news has been a little sparse during the tech downturn.
Yesterday I announced that I will ask the legislature to authorize $300 million to replenish the Enterprise Fund so we can continue to let the world know that Texas is wide open for opportunity. Continued investments in the Enterprise Fund will help us build a better Texas, one job at a time. And a strong Enterprise Fund will help us attract other good employers like Countrywide to expand or relocate here in Texas.
I have also asked the legislature to dedicate an additional $300 million to an Emerging Technology Fund that will focus specifically on fostering innovation in emerging high-tech industries and accelerate the commercialization of new products from the lab to the marketplace. Together, these strategic investments will give Texas the competitive edge we need to ensure greater opportunity, prosperity and a brighter future for all of our people.
Countrywide shed one-fifth of its workforce after the bubble popped, laying off 12,000 employees in September 2007. Despite his investment of $20 million in taxpayer dollars in Countrywide, Governor Perry now refuses to release documents in his possession that reveal how many of these job losses occurred in Texas.
As a condition of its grant, Countrywide files annual reports with the Governor’s Office about its Texas payroll. If the company fails to meet the terms of its Enterprise Fund grant, Texas can recover some of its money from Countrywide, which Bank of America acquired last year. In response to a March 2009 TPJ request for Countrywide’s compliance reports, the Governor’s Office now claims that this information is a trade secret that is exempt from the Texas Public Information Act. Oddly, the Governor’s Office previously provided Countrywide’s compliance reports to TPJ in 2007 without invoking exemption claims. The Attorney General told TPJ in a recent letter that it will take more time to rule on this public-information dispute.
Federal and state politicians helped inflate the real estate bubble by turning a blind eye to Countrywide and other lenders that aggressively engaged in irresponsible and unsustainable lending practices. These practices are best exemplified by “liar’s loans.” Governor Perry’s refusal to disclose the compliance reports that Countrywide files as a condition of its $20 million grant leaves hanging an unanswered question. Did the Texas Enterprise Fund award a “liar’s grant” to the mortgage giant that popularized the “liar’s loan?” It’s time for Governor Perry and Countrywide to come clean.
Gov. Rick Perry's office revealed Tuesday that it changed 11 Texas Enterprise Fund contracts with companies receiving taxpayer-funded grants for creating jobs, making the deals more favorable for the firms.
Two other contracts were ended, including a $20 million agreement with mortgage giant Countywide Financial, which sank into financial turmoil and laid off thousands of workers nationally. Bank of America, which now owns Countrywide, will return $8.45 million after creating only 3,800 of 7,500 promised jobs, Perry's office said.
Perry's office announced the amended and terminated enterprise fund agreements late Tuesday after learning that the nonprofit Texans for Public Justice was releasing a report today detailing enterprise fund contracts that weren't fulfilled or were in trouble. The report also lists companies, such as Austin's HelioVolt Corp., that had contracts with the state changed to reduce job creation requirements or allow more time to fulfill job promises.
As a side note to this, notice that Bank of America told Rick Perry recently they would help him out. Remember. Bank Of America owns Countrywide.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America has lost more than $22 billion from its consumer mortgage division in the last four quarters, in large part because of loan losses and legal settlements linked to Countrywide.
In August, American International Group Inc (AIG.N) sued BofA for over $10 billion, saying the bank was liable for Countrywide's mortgage bonds as its legal successor.
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