Lawmaker to biz: Give us our money

The CEO of a Massachusetts-based solar panel manufacturer didn’t hesitate before he said “no” when asked if he planned to give back millions of dollars in incentives now that his company has shredded hundreds of jobs.

Evergreen Solar head Michael El-Hillow said the 800 Massachusetts jobs naturally dissolved when the market for his company’s product dropped. More than 200 jobs remain at the company’s plant in China where workers are paid $2.50 per hour, 10 times less than what the Massachusetts workers were getting.

“China had tremendous surplus and allocated billions of dollars to the industry,” he said during yesterday’s testimony before the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee.

State Sen. Mark Montigny, the committee chair, said the hearing was meant to figure out how to improve state tax breaks.

However, he repeatedly said the deals negotiated between the state and the companies years ago were “lousy” for taxpayers and asked El-Hillow if he intended to return $20 million that helped the company build its Devens plant.

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