What do you call a state government that thumbs its nose to $2.1 billion in federal money that would help create a minimum of 30,000 new jobs, & provide over 500,000 citizens with health insurance? “Clueless” probably fits, but add this next tidbit into the mix, and you might agree that “criminally negligent” is a better description.
Alabama's joined with a number of other states and gone on a plane hunt. Specifically, the state wants to pay Boeing a several hundred million dollar bribe to fly on down South & build planes. Nobody's even sure of the exact total needed:
Bentley isn't saying how big Alabama's offer was. But he said that after landing several big projects – including Boeing's competitor, Airbus, for a $600 million plant in Mobile – the state will need to create new financial incentives because its current ones are about used up.
To recruit Airbus in 2012, Alabama provided a variety of state and local tax breaks and $158 million for bond expenses, site and road improvements, building costs and worker training. That plant is supposed to create about 1,000 jobs.
Boeing is looking at a $7 billion to $10 billion plant that would start with 3,250 workers in 2018 and grow to 8,500 by 2024.
“In order to recruit 8,500 jobs and that large of a project, obviously we need more than we have right now,” the Republican governor said.
Just so we get this straight, let's remember why Boeing is even bribe-shopping. Fresh off record profits, record order backlog of over $400 billion, and stock prices at record heights, Boeing managment decided the company needed to economize: by trashing worker pensions and offering 1% raises every 2 years:
Boeing wants to cancel those pensions and put in much weaker 401(k) plans.
It’s a race to the bottom. Or rather, a slog to an era when workers will be more reliant on Social Security than ever.
So what’s most galling is that Boeing’s CEO is out pushing to cut back on the nation’s retirement plan as well.
Speaking of expanding, that’s what keeps happening to the pension of Boeing’s CEO. According to the company’s recent annual reports, McNerney’s pension holdings soared by $6.3 million just in the past year.
If McNerney retires now he will get $265,575 a month. That’s not a misprint: The man presiding over a drive to slash retirement for his own workers, and for stiffs in the rest of America, stands to glide out on a company pension that pays a quarter-million dollars per month.
This is the poor, beleagured company that Alabama is tripping over itself to hand over
a bribe “incentives” that may approach a billion collars.
For the promise of 8,500 jobs.
Expand Medicaid & receive $2.1 billion and 30,000+ new jobs – at the same time you increase the overall health and productivity of people in the state.
Spend $600 million minimum (probably much more) to lure one of the world's richest corporations and get 8,500 jobs. That's $70,588/job (more if the incentives are more generous).
Well, of course, it's totally clear which one Alabama's Doctor Governor will choose. He's already signed that blank check to Boeing. If the company cashes it, expect to hear more poormouthing from the GOP Supermajority in 2014. They'll explain how state services need to be cut even more because there's just not enough money.
Well certainly not after the state leadership continues to tear holes in the budget with their corporate welfare payments:
- Mercedes Plant: Alabama promised $300 million in incentives for a promise of 1500 jobs. Cost: $200,000 per job.
- Carpenter Technology in Limestone County received $98 million in incentives for a promised 240 jobs. Cost: $408k per job.
- Airbus – the recently announced deal in Mobile totaled $158.5 million in state and local incentives for 1000 permanent jobs. Cost: $158,500/job.
This kind of thing happens at the local level too, as we learned with the Belk Department Store Blackmail Caper of 2012.
So the choice that Alabama is making is to spend over $70,000 per job to lure Boeing (and with our past history, that sounds like a bargain). When it could receive $2.1 billion to create 30,000 new jobs.
And the Governor thinks this is a good deal.
Former President Bill Clinton was right: Republicans are terrible at math.