Ten Leading Federal Grants to Ohio-Based Industries for Advancing Technology and Ecology—Smart Investing or Giveaways
Many Ohio state residents have serious concerns about the ways in which the US government is investing money in different areas of business as giveaways today. Some taxpaying consumers view this practice simply as a variety of welfare. One such government funding effort that has received heavy criticism is Washington’s granting of funding support to attract retail food stores to neighborhoods lacking full-service grocery stores and supermarkets.
The loudest criticism from Ohio consumers is currently focused on federal government grants to non-profit enterprises throughout the state over the past decade. Statistics supplied by the Northeast Ohio Media Group from the website, USASpending.gov, reveal the following information relative to the top ten US government funding efforts (as small business grants or giveaways) to companies in Ohio:
- Horizon Telecom. – This Chillicothe, OH, based company received federal funding of $66.5 million via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to construct a broadband network across 34 eastern and southern counties. The purpose of this funding was to attract hi-tech and fiber-optic businesses to invest in major city industries, medical facilities and schools.
- FirstEnergy Services Co. – This Akron-based facility was granted $57.5 million by the US government to install updated meters in Cleveland. These smart meters enable electronic data transmission between companies or residences and the utility company premises, promoting greater efficiency in energy usage. Energy efficiency was a goal of the Bush administration, but this 2010 grant was due to the Obama stimulus program.
- Phycal Inc. – This startup enterprise in Highland Heights, OH, received $48.5 million in government grants in 2010 to improve efficient energy use and decrease dependence on oil. Phycal produced a cassava strain to formulate inexpensive sugar for producing algae. The algae can be transformed into ethanol, a substitute for petroleum fuels. This grant facilitated construction of an active Hawaiian algae farm and refinery.
- Com Net, Inc. – This Wapakoneta company received federal stimulus funding of $30 million for supplying high-speed telecommunications to small communities and rural areas. Wapakoneta subsequently structured an advanced broadband network across Ohio’s western region.
- Novolyte Technologies. – Located in Independence, this sole US producer of certain nonaqueous electrolytes contained in lithium-ion type batteries received $20.6 million in federal money for development of such batteries in next-generation quality to power electric vehicles.
- Brush Wellman, Inc. – This Cleveland industry, now known as Materion, Inc., was granted funds of $19.5 million from the US Air Force in 2009 to conduct research concerning production of beryllium, a metal needed for manufacturing electronics and weaponry. This company received similar grant support of $6.3 million in 2006.
- American Electric Power Corp. – Based in Columbus, this utility business was granted federal funds equalling $16.9 million. The grant was for the purpose of constructing a modern facility to harness and provide storage for carbon emissions at its coal-powered New Haven, WV, utility plant, enhancing eco-friendly energy production.
- General Electric. – The jet engine division of GE, located in Evendale, a suburb of Cincinnati, was granted $10.7 million in federal funds to design, develop and initiate an advanced yet reasonably priced military turbine engine. This sum, given to GE in 2014, was a portion of the total small business grants funding amount of $60.8 million granted to GE through 2015. This funding is enabling GE to produce hi-tech helicopters with reduced fuel usage and production costs as well as impressive durability and engine horsepower.
- L.G. Fuel Cell Systems. – This North Canton company received $7.4 million in government grants in 2014 to conduct studies toward enhancing the dependability of solid oxide fuel cell networks. These fuel cells form energy as they unite oxygen and hydrogen. L.G. Fuel Cell Systems is designing expanded fuel cells for the utility industry and other commercial operations.
- Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. – This Findlay, OH, company received a grant of $6.85 million in 2012 from the US Department of Agriculture. The grant money was for conducting studies to determine whether rubber produced by the guayule shrub is suitable for manufacturing tires and if the resulting residue can be used as a biofuel. This type of rubber is consistently less costly and more plentiful than Hevea brasiliensis from the rubber tree.
It is now the combined task of US industries and consumers as taxpayers and voters to decide whether current federal government investments in industry in the form of small business grants are beneficial or detrimental to the United States economy and the livelihood of the general population.