Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creating Jobs So Everyone Can Bring Home the Bacon!

The State Republican party is accusing 2nd Congressional Democrat Harry Teague, who has worked in the oil and gas industry since he was a teen, of receiving $1.2 million in “Corporate Welfare” in 2004.

But, Teague’s staff tells The Word the "government funding" Teague received was actually a loan guarantee as part of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Business Cooperative Service [RBCS].

The Federal loan-guarantee program was designed to invest financial resources and provide technical assistance to businesses and cooperatives in rural communities. Each business is responsible for repayment, which includes interest.

Retiring Senator Pete Domenici originally championed the RBCS program that his colleagues now claim “is the kind of pork barrel, corporate welfare spending that is running up the federal budget deficit and threatening the economy.”

The Word has learned the loan guarantee was privately funded by the Western Commerce Bank of Hobbs and at no cost to tax payers. According to democratic staffers the RBCS the loan was paid back on time, in full, and with interest in 2006.

Teague’s company, ABC Rental Tool, only employed 13 people before the loan, but The Word has learned the Rural Business Cooperative Service program help create another 37 jobs in Hobbs and other rural areas of New Mexico where 17% of the population lives below the poverty level. Teague owns several companies and employees around 250 people.

"I'm proud to have taken part in one of Sen. Domenici's most successful programs," Teague said. "Because of the Rural Business Cooperative Service, I was able to create over 70 good paying jobs in places like Eunice and Jal. In Congress, I look forward to supporting bi-partisan legislation which, like the Rural Business Cooperative Service, helps rural Americans achieve the American Dream."

The Agriculture Department program has also helped numerous other projects in New Mexico, including the renovation of the Eklund Hotel in Clayton, NM, which Sen. Domenici praised as "wonderful news."

"Any good businessman would know the difference between a loan guarantee and a loan - and that this program, championed by Sen. Domenici, helped create good paying jobs for rural New Mexicans," said Teague Campaign Manager Frank Costanzo.

Republican party leaders say, “Harry Teague knows the system, worked the system and used the system to reap windfall profits in his private companies, the revenues of which are a secret.”

“He will have you believe his business is an American success story, but the reality is that he’s a well-connected insider who can – and does - pick up the phone to reach well- established Democrat political operators,” said State GOP Communications Director Shira Rawlinson.

Earlier this year, the Diana M. Alba at the Silver City News reported that Teague told a small group, “You can check my past record. … I don’t think I’ve ever been incompatible with being anything other than just fair with the oil and gas industry. They don’t need any handouts.”

Meanwhile, Teague’s team told The Word voters should be focused on Republican Ed Tinsley’s $52,000 federal subsidy (between 1995 and 2006) to help operate a privately owned ranch.

The Word met up with Teague who talked to us about the Southern District, the 8th Largest in land area in the U.S. being selected by the DNCCC as a "Red to Blue" contest this fall.

To hear the interview click the pink play button (sometimes twice).

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