Anaheim Insider here.

Have you seen this post from blog: “Tom Tait: For ‘Corporate Cronyism’ Before He Was Against It.”?  Dan Chmielewski catalogs example after example of how much distance there is between Tait pure free market rhetoric and his real record.

Some of it has been out there for a while, such as Tait’s long record of supporting the TOT rebate deals that he’s now blasting in front of the OC Republican Party Central Committee and other venues. He never really explains the flip-flopping other than to say his past support of such policies “was wrong.”

What was new, at least to me, was the hundreds of thousands in government subsidies Tait & Associates has accepted from the state to train employees how to use their computers:

And when it comes to businesses sucking from the “public teat”, as it’s so often described, Tait & Associates has no problem using public funds for training purposes.

The State of California offers private companies grants for training employees on a variety of equipment using new computers and new software applications and Tait & Associates applied for these grants several times.  From the website : The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs. The ETP was created in 1982 by the California State Legislature and is funded by California employers through a special payrolltax. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency. Businesses determine their own training needs and how to provide training. ETP staff is available to assist in applying for funds and other aspects of participation.

According to state records, in 2004/05,Tait & Associates was approved for $334,620 in contracts to train 234 employees from May 2005 to May 2007.  The earned amount of the grant was $114,685 and 145 employees were trained in a company that reported 265 people working at the business.  In 2006/07, Tait & Associates was approved for $283,500 to train 210 employees from May 2007 to May 2009 (about three weeks after the expiration of the first grant).  Tait & Associates reported 128 people were trained but the company shrunk to 227 people.  In 2009/10,Tait & Associates got a third ETP grant to train 125 employees for $75,500; 53 were trained but the business was down to 162 people.

In all, Tait & Associates had their employees trained on new computers and software to the tune of more than $320,000 in taxpayer funds after having been approved for nearly $700,000 – all to help a private business train employees to better do their jobs.  So nearly nearly twice as many people were trained than are currently employed at Tait &Associates.  Was Tom Tait himself trained with these state dollars?

It’s wrong for Anaheim have a policy to encourage the construction of luxury hotels by rebating back to the hotel (for a finite period) a percentage of the TOT tax revenue it collects. But it’s fine for an existing engineering firm to take taxpayer money to subsidize training its employees how to use their computers, which is something that has to be done anyway.

Tait defenders will probably say its different because the GardenWalk deal involves millions of dollars and Tait’s company only took hundreds of thousands of dollars. But is it the amount or the principle that matters?