by Max Brantley
I mentioned the potential loss of the Cooper Tire plant in Texarkana as the company decides which of four plants it will close on account of declining demand. It has become clear that workers in the four states will be held hostage in the process. Which state will make the biggest ransom payment to keep its plant open? Socialized tire making. Somebody send a note to Gov. Palin.
UPDATE: Hmmm. I'm not the only one with some mixed feelings about this issue. Others want to be sure that the public is reminded that:
1) It's worth knowing how many Cooper Tire employees live in Texas and thus pay no property or income taxes in Arkansas.
2) It's worth knowing how many Cooper Tire employees live in Texarkana, and thus pay no state income taxes. (These numbers have some impact in the cost-to-benefit ratio to the state over the long haul in investing tax dollars in the plant to preserve jobs).
3) Does anybody remember that in the very last session of the legislature lawmakers gave Cooper Tire $750,000 in utility tax breaks to make life nicer for them. They threatened to take the jobs away if they didn't get the tax break. (PS -- Technically speaking, this was restoration of an earlier tax break threatened by a reworking of a variety of taxes.)
4) Not long after Cooper Tire got its tax breaks they fired 150 workers. (Layoffs is the euphemism for such job actions.)