Another interesting front-page story in the Democrat-Gazette today suggests Arkansas may be in the running for a huge steel mill, if we are willing to outbid Louisiana for the privilege. The handouts could be huge, maybe up to $1 billion for a $3 billion plant that would employ 3,000, according to a Times-Picayune estimate.
As luck would have it, the Arkansas Blog community includes a veteran government observer with insight into Alabama politics. That’s another state that has been seeking the big operation proposed by ThyssenKrupp. The observer says:
Is Arkansas getting ready to buy a pig in a poke? This German steel company is demanding enormous concessions. I understand Alabama is no longer interested on account of the incentives the company is demanding. It’s a shakedown. The concessions reportedly include easing air and water pollution standards for 25 years and exempting all taxes, including school taxes, for 25 years. La. Gov. Kathleen Blanco is pushing for the plant to shore up her political standing, but a lot of legislators — including the New Orleans contingent — said it would be immoral to give this company what they are demanding when people still can’t get hurricane relief. If Alabama rejected it, and Louisiana is lukewarm, why are we lifting our skirts?