Expansions announced in Rogers, Jonesboro | Arkansas Blog

Expansions announced in Rogers, Jonesboro

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Two industrial announcemens today:

Bekaert, a Belgian company that has had a plant in Rogers since 1989, announced an expansion of the facility today that could eventually add 100 jobs. Arkansas Business has more.

The expansion, which drew the governor for the announcement, will qualify the company for some hefty corporate welfare from the state — 3.9 percent of payroll in the form of a cash rebate for three years and a sales and use tax credit for expansions greater than $5 million ($32 million in this case). The plant currently employs about 325 in making steel cord for tires.

Bekaert could have chosen to expand anywhere, the governor said. Yes, but an existing successful facility had to be a leading contender over a new operation. Other states are taking hard looks at the cost-benefit of taxpayer-paid corporate incentives and what they produce over time. It is past time for Arkansas to do some similar hard accounting analysis, not simply parrot the chamber of commerce cheer that all corporate welfare is a win-win.

UPDATE: Also, FMH Conveyors is expanding its Jonesboro plant that makes material handling equipment. It will spend about $12.5 million and says it will create 110 new jobs. It will qualify for a cash rebate of 3.9 percent of new payroll for 10 years; get a sales tax rebates on materials and equipment, and also gets a $1 million contribution from the governor's economic development fund.

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