It’s as if a crime has been committed. Mike Turner, Jon Husted, John Boehner, Sherrod Brown all have their panties in a twist that “Federal Stimulus Funds” were used as part of the incentive package to poach NCR from Dayton to Georgia:
NCR’s news release touting its decision to move jobs from Dayton to the Atlanta, Ga., suburbs includes one factoid that has Ohio lawmakers in a fury: The City of Columbus, Ga., plans to use federal stimulus dollars to buy a building and construct another to accommodate the 870 manufacturing jobs expected to come to the that Atlanta suburb.
“The fact that economic stimulus dollars were used to move an Ohio company to Georgia at taxpayer expense is an outrage,” said state Sen. Jon Husted. U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Columbus, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-West Chester, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also fired off angry missives. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, drafted a letter to President Obama.
None are saying that your tax dollars should NEVER be spent on corporate welfare. That’s right- not a one.
And as an answer to another reader of this site- yes, NCR has accepted plenty of tax dollars already from Dayton, Ohio, and the Fed- to help with the clean-ups of its environmental messes:
Taxpayers have committed to about $11 million in spending for environmental cleanup and other heavy-equipment related work in the ongoing reuse of old NCR industrial lands.
So to say we haven’t been doing our part to support NCR, or communicate with them is pure horse-hockey. The reality is, Bill Nuti and company only talk to people when it’s in their best interest.
People seem to think the sky is falling on Dayton. In fact a former Daytonian, Phillip Morris, now working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer shot the final bullet:
The city of Dayton died Tuesday.
It would be foolish for political leaders across Ohio, especially in Greater Cleveland, to ignore that city’s demise. We have seldom been more vulnerable.
In a week filled with punishing corporate news for Ohio, mostly revolving around GM’s bankruptcy, the most devastating blow of all was absorbed by Dayton, which learned that it was losing NCR Corp., the city’s last Fortune 500 company.
The sudden defection of the global technology company, founded in Dayton in 1884, means much more than the loss of some 1,300 jobs. It represents the final blow to a town’s corporate identity and image.
Dayton’s loss is more devastating than Cleveland’s loss of National City Bank.
The city that produced the men that gave us flight and the mechanical cash register is left with little more than an Air Force base, two universities, a smattering of health-care concerns, and the soon-to-be-blighted remnants of a company that once defined municipal pride.
As a former resident of Dayton, I’m saddened by the collapse of a region once noted for business innovation. I’m also frustrated that political and business development leaders in Columbus and Greater Dayton were outmaneuvered by political and business development leaders in Georgia.
But, if that was the case, we’ve already come back from the dead before. From what I’ve been told, in 1973 at the height of the oil embargo, NCR was closing down factories, as was Frigidaire. We lost more jobs then than we’ve lost recently- by a large factor. It was also the time of school busing- which had even greater impact on the health and welfare of our core city.
If we hope to go forward, it’s time to stop dwelling on the past. It’s time to ask leaders to take bold, visionary steps forward. Demand that NCR and GM turn over their facilities- while continuing to pay taxes on them. I’d suggest a new federal mandate- if you accept relocation dollars, you have to continue to pay taxes on your former site for a year for every five you had it- in NCR’s case, that work out to at least 25 years. We should be able to offer your vacated offices and factories to the highest bidder: with Truck and Bus- I’d be looking to India and Tata motors who purchased a bunch of Ford nameplates- and to China.
I’d offer up NCR to Google, Microsoft, Sun, Dell- even HP. HP’s president even knows Dayton, since he was the last guy at NCR. Microsoft is already feeling the pain of growth and the double-edged sword of concentrating in one place- scarce housing in Washington State push salaries higher and then wash, rinse, repeat.
But, if we really want to stop the madness- it’s time to stop government from engaging in “economic development” that amounts to corporate welfare and shooing sociopathic “friends” from corporate America. The corporation, by its nature is in the game for its self preservation. Government, unfortunately has sucked into that mentality as well.
Let’s ask government to get back to governing, for the greatest good, for the greatest number- and stay out of business. If politicians want to play venture capitalist- do it on Wall Street, not on Main Street.
We want a level playing field for all- isn’t that what the founding fathers intended when they said “All men are created equal.” Too bad they left out the part about after creation, when some become CEOs think they can take their marbles away and play us for ours without risk or repercussion.
You want to stimulate the economy? Level the playing field.