Stephens Media followed up on the Detroit newspaper report mentioned here yesterday about Toyota looking for ever cheaper labor to boost profit margins. That strategy makes Arkansas look good, of course, as a low-wage state. Will our leaders demand equity should Toyota come here with an assembly plant or, for that matter, worry that they are cherry-picking needy states?
"It sounds like sour grapes from Detroit," Gov. Mike Beebe said Tuesday.
"Hopefully these would be good paying jobs and our labor force would be treated fairly just like anybody else would be," Beebe said.
Beebe declined to say whether the state might scale back incentives if Toyota proposed building a plant at an industrial site in Marion and paying lower-than-expected wages.
"Regardless of the company, it is my philosophy that the incentives have to be such that it makes it a good deal for Arkansas taxpayers and for people who work here," the governor said.
"There are some companies - and you mentioned one, I didn't - that have a wonderful, wonderful track record of not asking for too much," Beebe said. "The company you mentioned, my information is that they are wonderful, wonderful corporate citizens who don't ask for anything that's not fair."
Message: Whatever Toyota wants is, by definition, fair. Where do we send the blank check?