The Kansas City Star: NDAs bar Kansas lawmakers from speaking about Panasonic factory details for years
Panasonic extracted at roughly $830 million in economic development incentives from Kansas residents, under cloak of a non-disclosure agreement. But now that deal has been made public, local officials are still bound to stay quiet, The Kansas City Star has learned:
“According to a copy of the nondisclosure agreement provided to The Star by the Kansas Department of Commerce, state officials and lawmakers that signed the agreement are only permitted to discuss details that have already been publicly revealed. That agreement remains binding until three years after the agreement was signed. Any information deemed to be a “trade secret” will remain confidential indefinitely…
Arlene Martinez, deputy executive director of Good Jobs First, a watchdog group that also belongs to the (Ban Secret Deals) coalition and studies corporate subsidy projects across the country, said the NDAs should have been lifted and the public should have been able to review the deal before final approval.
“If Panasonic is bringing as much prosperity as it claims, it should be willing to release the full terms of the deal so the public can make that determination for themselves,” Martinez said. “Letting Panasonic continue to dictate the terms of the process is another bad decision in a process that’s been deeply flawed and that has stripped from the public any opportunity to meaningfully weigh in on a deal that involves them opening up their wallets and diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from schools, roads, healthcare, parks, emergency response, and other vital public services.”
Read the full story at The Kansas City Star.