Sunday, June 03, 2007

Metro/State $$$ for Pharmaceutical Company

I have to admit that I do not know much about either the Accredo Health Group (whose website says that it is a subsidiary of "one of the largest providers of specialty pharmacy services in the United States") or Tennessee's "FastTrack Infrastructure Development Program." But I do see a bill coming before Metro Council on Tuesday night that would approve an application for the state grant in the amount of $688,704 with estimated matching Metro funds of $459,136.

If the resolution and the application are approved, the $1.1 million in public dollars would "install network, telecommunications infrastructure and data cabling for the Accredo Health Group, Inc." It looks like corporate welfare for Accredo's phone, computer, and data networking services, unless I am missing some broad public service beyond the typical "property taxes and jobs" that are usually thrown around as reasons.

The private enterprise ascetics seem fond of saying how there is no evidence that government run telecommunications networks like Metro-supplied broadband for Davidson County would work. But I notice that there is no such uproar against government-subsidized network infrastructure for corporations. There is no red flag waving about a network that will at least be used to increase the private wealth of a few.

And dare we wager that it will be used to help coordinate state and local lobbying efforts on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry in the future? Are there ethics codes that prohibit the use of publicly-funded network infrastructure for corporate lobbying efforts?

I hope that there is something about this resolution that I just do not see yet that might redeem it in my own mind. We will see on Tuesday night.

UPDATE: Ben Cunningham maintains that these subsidies may be unconstitutional.

UPDATE: Approved by Council on voice vote. No discussion. Council Committees reported unanimous consent.

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