by Max Brantley
We're hearing that the German steelmaker that's been holding a bidding war with southern states -- Ark., La., Ala. -- is going to drop Arkansas from the mix today. UPDATE: Here's the news release. We hear Arkansas made a plenty rich offer, but not rich enough. Maybe the Germans think a mano-a-mano contest between storm-tossed Louisiana and Alabama will produce even more ridiculous corporate welfare incentives.
Might this mean the Beebe administration, while quite ready to pay to attract business, understands there could be a point at which the cost could exceed benefits?
Thyssen Krupp doesn't mention money, of course:
The company's decision to narrow the search to Alabama and Louisiana is based on a number of immutable factors that were decisive including geological characteristics that would impact plant design and construction costs; energy costs and logistical considerations.
"Arkansas made an excellent proposal, and has many important and valuable attributes for business development," said Peter Urban, Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of ThyssenKrupp Steel. "However, based on the criteria we developed after much study, we are moving forward with Alabama and Louisiana at this time," he said.
When all this comes out, I hope we can get a specific look at what kind of dowery must be offered to get such a prospect.
UPDATE: Statement from the Economic Development Department:
"Although we felt all along we were at a logistical disadvantage, Arkansas competed aggressively for this project. We are disappointed to be eliminated, but the people of Arkansas can take great pride in the world-class way the local and state team endeavored to bring these high-paying jobs home. Mississippi County is one of the top steel producing counties in the country, and this decision doesn’t change that. The site in Osceola is fantastic, and without doubt, other companies will soon find its value."