by Max Brantley
Here's the NY Times report that puts Arkansas among four Southern states in the running for a new Toyota assembly plant, perhaps with an announcement by summer. Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina are also contenders.
Here are some words to remember as Arkansas officials rush to open the treasury to Toyota (ARKANSAS ANGLE: The expert quoted in subsequent paragraphs, James P. Womack, is a graduate of Little Rock Hall High School, Class of 1966):
No matter where it puts the plant, Toyota will probably be offered lucrative incentive packages from the states, said James P. Womack, a specialist in manufacturing efficiency who has followed Toyota for nearly two decades.
"Every governor, every senator, every congressman is falling all over himself, saying, How can I get one of those things?" Mr. Womack said. "They're big, they're visible, you can see them from the Interstate."
But Mr. Womack said Toyota would make its decision based on the quality of the state's work force, the proximity to its other plants and to customers, and the politics of its choice, with incentives ranking last.
"They're looking at a complicated algorithm," Mr. Womack said.