By on February 23, 2015

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at Churchill Downs

Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go.

Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon returning home:

I’m not trying to tell Tennessee or any other state how to handle their economic development efforts. I can just say that in Kentucky we would welcome either type of situation, either companies with unions or without them. We have an open-door policy and welcome companies no matter what their desires may be in terms of labor-management relationships. We don’t try to dictate what that relationship should be. We think that’s up to the company and to the employees.

The comments come after Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and his administration, as well as U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, did their best to persuade Volkswagen to reject the UAW’s offer to represent the transplant’s workforce in Chattanooga, including a $300-million incentive package that would be paid if labor talks were “concluded to the satisfaction” of the state’s interests.

Beshear adds that Kentucky can best attract economic development — whether from the auto or other industries — by not getting the middle of the labor negotiation process, noting that said lack of interference is “a positive sales point” for the state.

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7 Comments on “Beshear To Transplants: Kentucky Is Not Tennessee...”

  • avatar

    Well with Kentucky not being a right to work state and actually a fairly interesting study in quasi-liberal economic democrats holding state-wide office. They’re a state dominated by coal that was/is unionized but also heavily southern in many attitudes and positions but also midwestern. It should be interesting to see if transplants opt to go there because there is a far greater likelihood of unionization in Kentucky than other deeper Red states (as Kentucky is safely purple in all but presidential elections though that may be coming up for grabs in 2020 or 2024).

    Still, taking a hands-off approach is the best position regardless because the ideological purity arguments put forward by Republicans is a dying breed that without capturing the next presidential election will see the supreme court swing away from them and essentially establish a pro-labor court willing to dismantle much of Taft-Hartley and the rest of the anti-NLRA rulings.

    • 0 avatar

      The transplants have already “gone there.” Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant has been in operation since 1988, and is the company’s largest plant outside of Japan. It is also non-union, and nothing is going to change that.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly, Kentucky is the number three state in auto production by volume, and number one per capita – 1.3 million vehicles made there in 2014 and they weren’t all Corvettes.

        Toyota, Ford and GM all have operations there and 12 different models are built. GM has the smallest footprint (Corvette).

        85,000 people work for the auto industry in Kentucky, an increase of 20,000 jobs since 2010.*

        * Which is basically torturing statistics because in 2010 the auto industry was in the toilet

  • avatar

    This just in—Ohio not Nebraska. Film at 11.

  • avatar

    Does this mean that Kentucky isn’t going to bribe automakers with tax incentives and the like (corporate welfare)?

    Methinks doubtful on that one.

    • 0 avatar

      So, a state gives a company tax incentives to move there, employ people, take people off the welfare roles, and by doing so they collect much more in property, income, and other taxes than they credited the company. Local businesses supporting the plant flourish and employ more people who also pay more taxes.

      And that’s a bad thing for the state? There is tax competition world-wide as well as competition for labor, customers, etc.

      If they give them a break and collect more taxes, who loses?

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is that all too often, these things don’t payback until years down the road and that’s when the companies have their hands held out for the same.

        Just as we see in those billionaire owners of sports franchises who try to play off cities against each other.

        It’s not like these companies weren’t going to build a new manufacturing plant (b/c the need/demand was there).

        Many times, corporations would just threaten to leave (even if they have no real intention), knowing that they could get all sorts of tax incentives or other benefits from the politicians.

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