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090208 Aircraft Co asking city of Altus for $1 million to pay Kansas employees after spending $66.3 million in OK tax credits.cfm

September 2, 2008

Deja vu all over again! Oklahoma taxpayers are the latest marks to be left holding nothing but the air just passed through by the well worn but lucrative "Milk Can Airplane Scam" proving sucker are still born every day.

Altus Venture filed a claim with the state reporting the intent to invest $221 million in Quartz Mountain Aerospace creating 300 jobs, to justify taking $66.3 million in Oklahoma tax credits. Reports also state the City of Altus and Jackson county provided at least $9 million more. Quartz Mountain Aerospace reportedly only received $32 million of state money. Now, with no prospect of near term revenue, broke and unable to meet this week's payroll QMA has ask the City of Altus for a $1 million loan.

While Quality Jobs reports show QMA has never filled more than 73 qualified positions, May 2008 news outlets reported QMA reached an agreement to move its sheet metal fabrication work, the bulk of an airplane's fabrication work, to Coffeyville KS. A former QMA employee stated at an August 31, 2008, Altus city council meeting, that QMA is already hiring at its Coffeyville plant and paying those employees travel and living expenses to temporarily work at Altus.

It cost Oklahoma tax payers over $1 million per job, few lasting more than a year. Now the entire investment is in the process of moving major functions to another state. Oklahoma citizens deserve the answers for what happened to the $66.3 million and why isn't Altus Venture giving QMA the rest of the $221 million.

There are always risks involved with business ventures. Never is the venture allowed to free itself of all risk by shifting the risk to others, defeating the primary motivation that drive venture success. Oklahoma lawmakers failed to include, in the law creating the tax credit program, the most basic measures long practiced by all civilized cultures to protect against misuse of public funds. Even more telling was specifically including in the law language that would ensure any found guilty of abuse could not be required to return public funds obtained in violation of the law. Further insuring the maximum possible penalty for any found guilty would be no more than the guilty party would not be allowed to participate in the program.

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