The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) — a pot of taxpayer dollars that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) used to try enticing companies to move to the Lone Star State — has already come under scrutiny for outsized jobs claims. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Perry’s claim that the fund has created more than 50,000 jobs “[has] been inflated by counting employment gains far removed from the actual projects.”
In fact, according to a new report from Texans for Public Justice, Perry’s enterprise fund seems to have done more for his campaign coffers than Texas job creation:
This report finds that 43 companies that landed a total of $333 million in TEF awards contributed almost $7 million to Perry’s campaign and the Perry-affiliated Republican Governors Association (RGA). TEF companies sometimes made corporate contributions directly to the RGA, while company PACs, owners or executives gave to both the RGA and to Perry’s campaign (which cannot accept corporate funds).2 These contributions included $1,652,159 to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns and $5,331,701 to the RGA. The 43 TEF recipients that contributed to Perry and/or the RGA represent about half of the 90 companies that received TEF awards but received 76 percent of all TEF-awarded funds.
In one glaring example, General Electric received TEF money, donated more than half a million to Perry, but has yet to create the jobs in Texas that it promised:
TEF awarded $4.2 million in 2011 to General Electric ($640,700 to Perry/RGA ) for a Fort Worth train factory that promised to create 775 jobs. GE’s new TEF project has yet to face job-creation targets. GE also is a junior partner involved with the $25 million that TEF awarded in 2005 to the University of Texas System’s MD Anderson Cancer Center to create the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging. This project pledged to create 2,252 jobs. To pump up job-creation numbers, however, this TEF project does not just count new jobs at the TEF-funded imaging center.