Firms that got breaks face lawmakers’ queries

By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / March 26, 2011

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State lawmakers plan to grill executives from both Fidelity Investments and Evergreen Solar Inc. next week about their plans to eliminate hundreds of jobs in the state, despite receiving millions of dollars in government aid.

The Committee on Post Audit and Oversight said it expects Fidelity Investments president Ronald O’Hanley and Evergreen chief executive Michael El-Hillow to testify at a hearing Tuesday on state tax incentives.

Several state officials are expected to attend the hearing, including Gregory Bialecki, secretary of housing and economic development, and Navjeet Bal, commissioner of the Department of Revenue.

Boston-based Fidelity disclosed plans two weeks ago to shutter its Marlborough office by the end of 2012 and move nearly all 1,100 jobs out of state. Fidelity and other mutual fund companies received a tax break worth tens of millions of dollars a year in 1996. Fidelity said it has met all the terms of the incentive.

Meanwhile, Evergreen Solar shut its solar panel manufacturing plant in Devens this month, eliminating more than 800 jobs there and at its Marlborough headquarters, despite receiving $58 million in grants, tax incentives, and other aid. The state says it expects Evergreen to pay back $3 million and forfeit another $20 million or so that it hadn’t used. Evergreen said that until the closing it had it created far more than the 350 jobs it initially promised.