Bachmann questions Perry’s Texas state investments in private firms

Michele Bachmann is taking some shots at the jobs creation program in Texas that Gov. Rick Perry regularly touts.

A Forbes article says Bachmann’s criticism of Perry’s jobs agenda, at least the part that invests state money in private companies, echoes previous calls of “crony capitalism.”

The story says Bachmann has compared one of Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund deals to Solyndra, the California energy company that went bust after receiving a $528 million loan from the federal stimulus program:

Perry’s state fund “gave $35 million and a grant to a private company and there were donors in that private company,” Bachmann said, referring to Perry campaign contributors. Though the company promised to create jobs, “they didn’t create any,” she said.

The criticism lays bare a larger battle among conservatives about whether the government should let the free market reign or use public money to boost jobs. More specifically, the deal Bachmann attacked illustrates the murky complexities of private ventures that not only involve risk but also donations to political campaigns.

 Bachmann was specifically attacking a Perry deal that gave $35 million to Lexicon Genetics in 2005, with the expectation that 1,662 jobs would be created by 2011. Today, there are only 290 jobs, and some are in New Jersey.

Alice Stewart, a Bachmann spokeswoman, told Forbes that the Lexicon deal shows “once again, Gov. Perry agrees with President Obama. The governor admits that he supports the same failed stimulus policies as the president.”  

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