Tennessee officials reportedly want to give Mitsubishi Motors North America more than $3.3 million in corporate welfare.
State officials reportedly do this to lure the company’s headquarters from California to Franklin Tenn., according to Brentwoodhomepage.com
“The grant will come from the state’s FastTrack economic development fund, which provides support for companies expanding or relocating to Tennessee for moving equipment, temporary office space, capital improvements and retrofitting,” the website reported.
According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s website, Mitsubishi Motors will invest $18.25 million to move its U.S. headquarters to Williamson County. TDEC officials say the move will bring approximately 200 jobs to Franklin. Relocation is scheduled begin in August and get completed by end of 2019.
“Since 1988, Mitsubishi Motors North America has been rooted in California. The relocation to Franklin will begin in August and be completed by the end of 2019. All departments will be relocating, including sales, marketing, IT, human resources, communications, parts and services, product planning, dealer operations, finance and legal,” according to TNECD.
“Initially, Mitsubishi Motors will transfer operations to a temporary office in Franklin. Beyond that, the company is working with commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to identify permanent offices.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last month, TNECD bestowed corporate welfare upon a new business in Cleveland, near Chattanooga, named Triumph Sheets LLC.
As The Star reported in February, corporations seem to play the Tennessee and Mississippi state governments against one another to get the best corporate welfare deals possible — at the expense of taxpayers in both states.
Companies wait for Tennessee and Mississippi to pony up their incentives. Company leaders can only accept one of those two deals, of course. Then they set up shop in the state that made the better offer. And sometimes these companies move from Tennessee to Mississippi and vice versa — even if they’re only moving as little as 20 miles away.
Then there’s the story of Electrolux.
Tennessee officials announced in 2011 that Electrolux would receive about $137 million in incentives to set up shop in Memphis where it was supposed to bring up to 2,000 jobs.
Former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam pledged $97 million in taxpayer money to the company, while Memphis and Shelby County officials offered an additional $20 million.
As of 2015, Electrolux Memphis had 910 hourly and salaried employees and 483 contract employees.
Members of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a Nashville-based free market think tank, criticized the arrangement and called it “a prime subject” for their 2011 Tennessee Pork Report.
As The Tennessee Watchdog reported that year, some Shelby County commissioners said they had mixed feelings about government subsidizing big business — but they also said they had no other choice but to go along. If they had not, Electrolux would have built their factory elsewhere.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photos “Mitsubishi Motorcars” by Mitsubishi Motors and “Franklin Theater” is by Ron Cogswell CC2.0.