Phil Matier: Solyndra Received State Tax Break Last Year

FREMONT (KCBS) – The Department of Energy is not the only government agency that invested heavily in Solyndra, the Fremont-based solar manufacturing company that recently filed for bankruptcy.

Last November, a state board agreed to give the company a $34 million tax break, the largest handed out under an alternative energy subsidy law signed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said there is plenty of blame to go around.

“These (tax breaks) are incentives that California and other states dish out left and right to try to attract and keep businesses in state. Governor Schwarzenegger wanted to be the ‘green’ governor and wanted to give tax breaks to tech companies. The tech companies wanted them. The legislature couldn’t do it fast enough. They approved it and handed it over to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer,” he said.

Matier said many legislators also oversold “green power,” the idea that green tech was going to pull California and the nation out of the recession.

Meanwhile, two top executives at Solyndra said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions when they appear at a House hearing on Friday.

Solyndra Chief Executive Officer Brian Harrison and Chief Financial Officer W.G. Stover sent letters to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday informing them of their plans to remain silent. The committee is investigating a $528 million loan Solyndra received from the Energy Department in 2009.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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