Evergreen CEO: We’re Not Returning Incentive Money

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The chief executive of Evergreen Solar says his company has no plans to give back $20 million in state corporate incentives, despite its recent decision to close a plant in Devens, Mass., and lay off 800 workers.

Michael El-Hillow told the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee on Tuesday that Evergreen has met 85 percent of its employment obligations to the state, and still has five years to reach the remainder.

El-Hillow said the company moved manufacturing to China to save labor costs.

Officials from Fidelity Investments were also called before the panel to explain its recent decision to move 1,100 jobs out of Massachusetts, despite enjoying tax breaks since 1996.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

President of Asset Management and Corporate Services Ronald O’Hanley said they were surprised their announcement caused such a stir. 

“This was pretty simple to us.  Most of our employees are probably going to stay in exactly the home they live in now and commute.  It’s just not that big a deal for them.”

But Committee Chairman Mark Montigny called it a lousy deal, and said Fidelity should have given more notice.

O’Hanley said they are giving two years notice and noted they offered to meet with Gov. Deval Patrick the night before the announcement, but Patrick turned them down.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

Committee chair Sen. Mark Montigny said the hearing is not intended to be an “inquisition” but to improve job creation policy.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 it’s time to take a hard look at which tax breaks work and which don’t.

“To compare how they work, whether we, the taxpayers, are getting a better deal out of some of them than others and those are the ones that we ought to keep and the other ones we ought to think about improving, so we make sure that we get what the public expects out of the tax benefit.”

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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