Letter: Toyota plan worthy of county incentives

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 26, 2007

I was disappointed to see that Jim Sides and Tina Hall voted against the incentives package bringing Toyota to Rowan County, and I applaud all other commissioners for welcoming Toyota. Let’s hope for many more such welcomes to come.

Tina Hall’s rationale for voting against the incentives package in the Jan. 24 Post seems to say that Ms. Hall is hoping for some theoretical business to swoop into Rowan County with ample jobs and tax revenue, and ask for little in return. I think we’d all like that, but realistically, as business parks on Julian Road and elsewhere sit vacant, it doesn’t work that way. Toyota could have chosen other locations. Of course Rowan suits Toyota’s needs at this point in time, otherwise they’d take their money elsewhere.

With that said, tax and development incentives are market standard ways of enticing corporate development and have been for decades. We need look no further than several counties over for evidence, where Google Inc. recently pledged to build a $600 million facility in Lenoir, receiving roughly $4.8 million in development incentives and bringing to the state an estimated $1 billion in cumulative gross value. Next time, why can’t that happen in Rowan?

There is inherent risk, sure. Toyota may not get the expected return on their investment and fold the operation in five years, or they may stay for 100 years.

But one thing is certain; we’ll be getting more tax dollars in those five years than we would have gotten otherwise, and if Sides and Hall had their way, we’d never even be giving Toyota the chance to try.

If Ms. Hall is as concerned about the unemployment rate in Rowan as she purports to be, her voting record going forward must be less hostile to new business development.

— Clark C. Walton