Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More on the Howe Brothers

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At the beginning of the month, I wrote about the $3 million grant Sen. Collins seems to have steered to Howe & Howe for their (dubious?) Rip Saw prototype--an investment of taxpayer dollars that seemed questionable at best.

I promised to dig further and am back with some results.

Unfortunately--though not surprisingly--there's not much information out there about the Howe brothers. But it does seem that their company was less than two years old when it first received federal funds; that it has a grand total of two employees; and that it has estimated annual sales of $130,000.

And the grant does seem to have been the result of an earmark.

(Also, while it's admittedly not clear, I think this Russian site--translated by Google--may be making fun of them.)

Look: I understand that some Mainers will see the Howe brothers' federal jackpot as evidence of Sen. Collins' success at bringing money back to the state for local projects.

But here's the thing: There are a lot of worthy local projects.

So the real question is why the brothers and their fledgling $130,000-a-year business got 25 times that much money from the government when those funds could have gone to a weatherization pilot program.

Or to any number of other programs.

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