Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Haslam INCITE incites complaints

State Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Nashville tax-revolter Ben Cunningham, speaking in this morning's Tennessean, express concerns regarding Gov. Bill Haslam's INCITE program, through which ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty hopes to get federal permission to use $30MM in federal funds to support co-investment in early-stage companies. If that permission isn't granted, the money might have to go to banks, instead. That, in turn, would eliminate one leg of the Haslam-Hagerty Incite program, and could jeopardize other parts of the plan, including the funding of incubators in some areas of the state. 'Could be coincidence, but McNally's concerns regarding transparency of the program could be partly a result of partly suppressed complaints in E.TN. about the fact no TNINvestco funds in that region were certified and little TNInvestco money has gone into firms in that territory. As we pointed-out in yesterday's NewsBits, The Knoxville News Sentinel opened further this can o' worms this weekend with a batch of stories. Also, as we reported May 23, Hagerty's agency rethought its release of TNInvestco investment-certification information and plans to release less info.

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