Citizens for Alternatives to Longview Power (CALP)
It Ain't Built Yet.
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The True Economic Impact of The Proposed Longview Power PlantTax Revenue
GenPower has negotiated a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement with Monongalia County's Development Authority, County Commission, and Board of Education (click here to download). In the PILOT agreement, in lieu of paying up to $9 million annually in property taxes, Mon County would theoretically own the Longview facility, making it exempt from taxes. However, the plant will be used as collateral for loans, and so the bank will really own the plant. What happens when the loan defaults? The company that ultimately owns Longview Power will pay the county a pre-negotiated amount of money, supposedly over 30 to 33 years. Yet the agreement the County unwittingly signed actually allows Longview to pay regular property taxes before the 30 or 33-year period is up, if that would be cheaper for them due to depreciation and other factors. This results in Longview paying the County far less than its full share of taxes.
If Longview were built and taxed like any other industrial property, it would be liable for up to $9 million in annual property taxes, by GenPower's own estimate. GenPower insists the project is not economically viable if these taxes had to paid, but no financial documents to this effect are in Monongalia County files. GenPower insisted that the County agree to pre-established payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT), or else it threatened to cancel the project.
GenPower and representatives of Monongalia County agreed to the following payment schedule for the PILOT scheme:
$5 million once construction has begun on the plant; then $2.1 million per year increasing 3% each year to approximately $5 million in the last (30th) year. An official PILOT agreement was finalized in June 2003.
The Monongalia County Commission will receive a portion of the PILOT payments from Longview (approximately 22%). The remainder theoretically goes to the School Board, but at least a portion of that sum, if not all of it, must pass through the State Aid Formula. Therefore, Monongalia County schools will not receive the entire amount of the remainder, or the State's contribution to the County's schools will be offset accordingly.
Jobs Longview Power sources have stated that the power plant itself would provide 50 to 60 permanent jobs (most likely non-Union), and the mining of coal to serve it would provide around 150 non-Union mining jobs. In addition, a maximum 1,200 Union construction workers would be hired, over a period of 3 years, to build the facility. Many of these construction jobs would exist for less than 3 years.
There is no assurance that the jobs created would go to local residents. It is known that more than half the coal will come from Pennsylvania. The unemployment rate in Monongalia County is one of the lowest in the nation (3.5% in July 2005) according to the U.S. Department of Labor,Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data , and the employment level of Monongalia County construction workers is currently relatively high. The Morgantown area is undergoing a construction boom. Such large projects as Phase One of the Ruby Memorial Hospital expansion in Morgantown, the Institute of Scientific Research in Fairmont, and the new United Hospital Center hospital in Clarksburg are hiring construction workers now or will be hiring them soon. In light of these facts, it is unlikely that many of the jobs would go to individuals who live in and pay property taxes in Monongalia County. Yet it is the residents of Monongaila County who are giving Longview a huge tax break and who will be saddled with the pollution from the power plant for the next 30 to 50 years.
Overall Econonic Impact
A study of the economic impact of the Longview plant claims that the power plant will be economically beneficial due to the creation of new jobs and indirect economic benefits from its construction. However, a number of problems undermine the credibility of this study:
LONGVIEW IS SHORT SIGHTED!