Planet Gore

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?


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