If Mississippi is serious …
Feb. 13, 2002
An old argument has surfaced again in Mississippi over what it takes to land a high-profile, world-class corporation that creates thousands of new jobs. The basic question today is whether a state experiencing serious budget shortfalls can afford to offer lucrative incentives that convince a South Korean automotive manufacturing company to locate here.
The answer is that in a hotly-competitive global economy, no state can afford not to offer incentives.
Competition for billion-dollar automotive manufacturing plants such as the one South Korean carmaker Hyundai is proposing for North America is intense. Site selection specialists have already narrowed the potential field to a handful of possibilities, reportedly in four states including Mississippi.
Every state in the running for this plant recognizes the potential value of 2,000 new jobs and as many as 10,000 spin-off jobs over a period of time. They also recognize that Hyundai is not exactly a household name in the U.S., unlike Nissan or Mercedes. Courting international manufacturing companies never comes without some degree of risk.
If, as a state, we are serious about breaking the cycle of economic despair created by disappearing jobs in the textile industry … if we are serious about re-training workers for higher-paying jobs in a new manufacturing era … if we are serious about growing the economy, state-backed incentives are a necessary element in the courtship.