Institute for Technology Development and Bigger Pie Forum Respond to False Allegations Made by Kemper Power Plant Proponents Representing Alabama Interests
Jackson, MS – August 20, 2013 – The Institute for Technology Development (“ITD”) is a 501(c)(3) Mississippi nonprofit corporation that since its formation in 1983 has promoted economic development in Mississippi through a variety of means, including promoting and coordinating university and private research in the 1980s and conducting applied technological research under contracts with Federal agencies and private parties in the 1990s and 2000s. Throughout its history ITD has promoted public policies and a regulatory environment that benefit economic development, with a special emphasis on the technology sector. In the 1980s, ITD received a Federal grant and a State of Mississippi grant. ITD also received a State of Mississippi grant in 1995. All Federal and State funds received by ITD were completely spent in accordance with contract terms and these contracts were satisfactorily closed in accordance with standard government procedures. ITD has no taxpayer funds.
As authorized and encouraged by Federal and State law, including the Bayh-Doyle Act of 1980, and in accordance with ITD’s purpose of promoting economic development in Mississippi, over the years ITD developed and commercialized technology in the areas of microelectronics, space remote sensing, and infrared sensing technologies. The funds generated from these activities have been carefully managed and invested by ITD and constitute ITD’s only source of funds since the mid-1990s. As noted in ITD’s audited financial statements, all of these funds are classified as “unrestricted” in accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 117, Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Organizations.
In 2012, ITD formed Bigger Pie Forum (“BPF”) as a Mississippi limited liability company to continue its mission of education and promotion of economic development in Mississippi by providing information to the public and public officials on policies that enhance economic development and by opposing policies and projects that are detrimental to economic development, such as the Kemper Power Plant project. In each phase of its development, ITD has employed legal, tax and accounting professionals to ensure that its activities and operations comply with the requirements applicable to nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporations and the terms of any Federal and state grants or contracts.
Proponents of the Kemper Power Plant, including the Alabama organization JobKeeper Alliance, have recently made a series of false allegations against ITD and Bigger Pie Forum. JobKeeper Alliance represents Alabama coal companies and Alabama labor interests hoping to profit from the Kemper Power Plant at the expense of Mississippi ratepayers. Its founder and Chairman, Stewart Burkhalter, was President of the Alabama AFL-CIO from 1995 until he retired in October 2011. Similar attacks have been made by P.A.C.E., another Alabama-based organization.
The most recent attacks were made in an August 16, 2013 editorial piece in The Clarion Ledger by Patrick Cagle, the Montgomery, Alabama based Executive Director of JobKeeper Alliance. Cagle is a graduate of Auburn University, and his father was employed from 1982-2010 in a high level position with Alabama Power, part of the same corporate conglomerate that is building the Kemper Power Plant.
In the editorial piece, Cagle claims that ITD was “subsidized by Mississippi taxpayers for two decades to the tune of $32 million,” that Bigger Pie Forum was funded with taxpayer money, and that ITD has been mothballed. All of these claims are blatantly false and are reckless and irresponsible attempts to quiet opposition to the Kemper Power Plant through intimidation and by misleading the public and public officials. Cagle further claims that the Mississippi State Auditor can “recoup millions of taxpayer dollars” from ITD and Bigger Pie Forum. There is no legal basis for this claim.
ITD and Bigger Pie Forum do not intend to allow lies, threats and attempts at intimidation from powerful interests in Alabama and Mississippi to stop them from telling the truth about the Kemper Power Plant project. The truth is Bigger Pie Forum’s only interest in Kemper is a public one: to educate the public and public officials about the billions of dollars of adverse economic consequences to Mississippians that will result if Mississippi ratepayers are saddled with the costs of the Kemper Power Plant.