Over the past several years Gov. Rick Perry has crisscrossed his home state, bragging about the Texas Enterprise Fund, his economic program that has given millions of taxpayer dollars to corporations such as Caterpillar Inc., Texas Instruments, and Home Depot. The TEF program is supposed to draw businesses to the state and create jobs. It has been a centerpiece of the so-called Texas economic miracle Perry now touts on the presidential campaign trail.
The TEF program requires applicants to agree to produce a certain number of jobs by a certain date in exchange for a grant, the largest of which have been a pair of $50 million awards granted to the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine and Texas Instruments back in 2004 and 2005.
But the Perry administration hasn’t exactly gone hard on corporations that have fallen short. In 2007, TEF awarded Lockheed Martin with nearly $5.5 million; in return, the company promised to create 800 new jobs by the end of 2008. Subsequently, Lockheed quietly renegotiated its deal with Perry’s office, agreeing to just 550 new jobs from 2007 through 2014, explaining the lower number as a result of “federal cutbacks.” In exchange, TEF also lowered its grant to Lockheed to $4 million unless the company managed to meet its original hiring target of 800. Meanwhile, Perry’s office didn’t collect any clawback penalties from Lockheed—while continuing to report that it had created 800 jobs.