It will be interesting to see how Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, the Arkansas Republican Party and its paid mouthpieces on the web spin this:
For the second time in its three-year history of operation in Arkansas, international pipe manufacturer Welspun Corp. Ltd today announced it will expand again, adding 200 jobs and investing an additional $100 million in its Little Rock, Ark., facility, the company’s first large-diameter pipe manufacturing location in North America. With this expansion, Welspun will bring total overall investment to $280 million since opening in April 2009.
Pipe produced by Welspun is primarily used in the gas and oil industry.
You may recall that the delay in approval of the Keystone pipeline is cited tirelessly and tiresomely and inaccurately by Republicans as costing jobs in Little Rock. Apparently Welspun is doing OK. (As I’ve written before, 60 part-time workers were laid off temporarily from a short-term job loading pipe as a result of the Keystone decision, but a plant official said they’d eventually have the work to perform regardless.) Undoubtedly Welspun would like Keystone and many more pipelines to be built, but the market is apparently strong. It has already completed manufacture of all the Keystone pipe, by the way, though some finishing remained when last I checked. TransCanada is obligated to buy it regardless of the outcome of Keystone, on which planning is proceeding for a new route.
Roby Brock reports the state payout on the expansion: $4.5 million for site prep;
$300,000 for training; payroll tax rebates for 10 years; sales tax refund on construction materials.
Welspun had said when it expanded in 2010 that its pay averaged $17 an hour, counting some higher-skill engineering and technical jobs. Entry level jobs started at $12 an hour. 200 jobs at $17 an hour might produce as much as $400,000 a year in state income tax withholding, though likely a good bit less after deductions. So, at a minimum, it will take 10 years for income tax payments alone to repay the state payout for site prep. Other rebates add significantly to the state cost. Materials come from out of state, Welspun has said. The jobs have a multiplier effect in the community as the pay is spent, however. And there will be a temporary boost from construction work.
More on today’s announcement: