The Truth about the GM Janesville Plant

Actually, Paul Ryan left out something about the Janesville GM plant — it was one of three plants GM was considering reopening back in 2010. We posted this piece from the WSJ on it. Sadly, Janesville lost out because of “community impact” and its “carbon footrpint.” The bribe from Michigan probably helped as well:

How GM is Choosing its New Plants

From today’s WSJ:

When it was deciding where to build its new compact car, General Motors Corp. made a point of saying it would push politics aside and use strictly commercial criteria.

So Tennessee’s three top officials were astonished last month, in a meeting with GM, when they were told the first two criteria were “community impact” and “carbon footprint” — or how the choice would affect unemployment rates and carbon-dioxide emissions.

“Those didn’t strike us as business criteria at all,” said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who was joined in the meeting by fellow Republican Sen. Bob Corker and the state’s Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen. Those factors, Mr. Alexander said, “seemed odd for a company struggling to get back on its feet.”

On June 26, after a monthlong competition, GM tapped an existing factory in Orion, Mich., pushing aside competing plants in Spring Hill, Tenn., and Janesville, Wis.

And . . .

Michigan won the bidding by offering $779 million in business tax credits over the next 20 years, along with $130 million in federal funds for worker training. Local officials threw in additional $102 million in incentives.

I asssume this deal makes the most sense for GM, but I wonder if anyone in Michigan owns a calculator. Is a $779 million business-tax credit for the 1,400 jobs this plant will create really the best use of taxpayer money in Michigan?

So, there you have it. Maybe if the good folks of Janesville all held their breath to reduce their CO2 emissions, they would’ve had a better shot at winning the business.

And, to top it off, the NYT editorialized in the summer of 2008, “R.I.P.  to the S.U.V.”

Janesville made S.U.V.s. A fact we pointed out to the Times in October 2008 when Janesville was slated to closed.

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