You Don’t Own That, Gov. Haslam

This deserves to get some national attention:

In a script for Gov. Bill Haslam to read on camera — prepared in 2011 by his Department of Economic and Community Development — a most unusual offer was drafted to try to entice retail giant Sears to relocate its corporate headquarters to Tennessee.

The Sears effort was dubbed “Project Neptune.”

“We’re so committed to making your new home in Tennessee that we are prepared to offer you one of the premiere buildings in Nashville’s thriving downtown,” the script read.

“Our state office building, the Tennessee Tower, can be an instantaneous and immediate home for Project Neptune’s corporate headquarters. This highly visible and historic building offers over 600,000 square feet of prime office space — located conveniently across from Legislative Plaza and a stone’s throw away from my office in the state Capitol.”

The Tennessee Tower is the iconic building that longtime Nashvillians may remember for its annual holiday messages.

“Are they going to give away the Capitol, too?” Cunningham asked.

“They’re going to offer them the Tennessee Tower, one of the major, probably the major, state office building — here you can have it. This is owned by the taxpayers by you and me. This is not owned by Bill Haslam.”

Let me point out: Ben Cunningham is the head of the Nashville Tea Party. When your giveaway to corporate America outrages both Tea Partiers and Democrats you know you’re doing it wrong.

Gov. Haslam’s “business expertise” was supposed to be his big selling point that qualified him to run state government. But you can’t run the government like a business, because government is not a business. And of course Pilot Oil, the family business, is facing its own scandals for engaging in illegal business practices. You’ve really gotta question Haslam’s supposed business acumen.

And then there’s this:

The Project Neptune proposal lays out all the possible incentives available to Sears if it brought 6,100 jobs, including a “super job tax credit,” “franchise tax savings,” a “standard job tax credit,” an “industrial machinery credit,” “sales and use tax credit,” a “headquarters relocation credit,” plus “training incentives” and “infrastructure incentives.”

Total potential value of the state package under a “high scenario” was $588.8 million dollars.

“This is $600 million — that is a very significant part of the annual budget of the state of Tennessee,” Cunningham noted.

We did the math, and that $588 million is almost $100,000 per job. The “low scenario” was $477.6 million, which is $78,000 per job.

Um …. wow. Okay, Tennessee: this is what happens when you elect a “businessman” to run the state. Silly little notions like “public servant” and “owned by the people” are weird concepts that our state CEO has never heard of. A state office building owned by the people of Tennessee? What communisticky-socialisticky notion is this?!

And I’m astonished that Haslam thought spending $100,000 per job was a good bargain. This is the same person who won’t take a free deal to expand Medicaid to the state’s citizens who need healthcare, calling it “a clunker.”

Haslam has one idea: take what belongs to the taxpayers and funnel it to corporations (for another example, see this). Spend on corporations, not people. If you think he stands for anything else, you’re severely wrong. He’d even give a corporation a downtown Nashville office tower owned by the people of Tennessee! This is his idea of a “smart business move.” That tells you everything you need to know about this dim bulb you’ve put in charge.


Filed under Bill Haslam, Gov. Bill Haslam, Nashville, Tennessee

13 responses to “You Don’t Own That, Gov. Haslam

  1. The state of NY shitcanned “Enterprise Zones” (read, “Corporate welfare”) a few years back. Now the DEMOCRATIC governor, Andrew Cuomo wants the state to forego taxing any manufacturing operations in the upstate area. Property tax, which everybody already pisses and moans about–incessantly–can only go up.

    I think I have Bill’s new campaign slogan:

    “Haslam, when fucking the poor isn’t enough and you wanna fuck the middle class, just as hard! We’re sendin’ you the BILL.”

  2. Jim in Memphis

    You need to look into the Electrolux deal to open a plant here in Memphis. The state and local government gave it a package worth about $190 million for 1,240 jobs – $152,000 per job give or take.

  3. deep

    Needs to be said: Cunningham is a RINO.

  4. Joseph Stans

    Will the move take place before or after a rather shaky Sears files for bankruptcy?

  5. Sure thing, Jimbo:

    Because this:

    “Electrolux plans to begin transitioning production to the newly built, 700,000 square foot facility in mid-2012 and the process is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2013. The new facility will assume the manufacturing currently located in L’Assomption, Quebec, the wind-down of which Electrolux announced on December 14th. The company said the transition will occur in a way that is seamless for customers, and it will work to assure there will be no negative impact on product availability, delivery or service.”

    is ‘zackly the same as what Southern Beale wrote about in the OP.

    Oh, but wait, I see that they did it in 2010 when the former DEMONCRAT governor was abusing the honest, decent Tennessee taxpayers.

    Maybe you should bring up the Hemlock Semi-conductor plant, instead of Electrolux. It will make you look slightly less partisan–but no less stupid.

    • Jim in Memphis

      I am not clear how your response addressed my point that the State and local governments gave a company $152,000 per job created. I was comparing that to SB’s statement that the Sears offer was equal to $78,000 to $100,000 per job created. And to be honest, I assumed the deal was struck under Haslam’s time as governor.

      • Well, Jimbo, a lack of clarity is a feature with you, not a bug.

        READ the fucking article, moron.

        1.) Sears is going to bring 6K+ jobs to TN? Not fucking likely, when one considers that the company is hemorrhaging teh $M’s and could go into Chapter 11 or receivership at any time. Then, TN will be on the hook for both the original cashola plus whatever “temp assistance” they have to pay out to all of the dismissed employees.

        d.) The reported amount for Electrolux is going to a company that is building a NEW manufacturing plant with NEW equipment and hiring people to do jobs that are something other than “order fulfillment”.

        Do you understand the difference?

    • A couple years ago the NYT did an analysis of these tax breaks and incentives state and local governments hand out like candy to lure “job creators,” and it appears these deals are never worth what it costs the people in loss of services. It’s this stupid game the corporations play, but when they need to do mass layoffs they still keep getting their same tax breaks. It’s always a very one-sided deal.

      All of that being said, I wonder how much money Haslam spent luring Beretta to middle Tennessee? Yes — we’re going to make guns here. Of course we are.

  6. Spend on corporations, not people.

    Corporations are people, my friend!

  7. Mary Wilson

    Hey, SB, I am so furious today. The Headlines here in ‘worshiping Haslam country’ were the following: “Haslam offers grads ‘a promise’ with his shell game of using our Lottery funds, and then a despicable subtitle: “Budget would give raises, AX 664 STATE JOBS”. And his continuing suck up to his TEA bosses, once again refusing $3.3 Billion in FREE FEDERAL taxpayer dollars…was in the fine print on Page 9A….no damned wonder they tried to hide it. And yes, he is running this State exactly like his family ‘runs’ Pilot Oil….just like Chris Cristie ‘runs’ NJ. If only we had a strong, super rich Democrat to run. Hell, I would run if someone would give me just $1 million! This Governor has hurt every single demographic except the ultra rich and the totally stupid TEA followers, the TEAs being paid by the Koch brothers…that is a fact.
    A study done by reputable researchers on those 21 States that refuse these billions, states that this total ignorance will cost 7000 lives in the next few years. He has no excuse. We do not care how much money he has raised. All that money will just keep him in office where he will continue to screw this State in every possible way.

    • Well, as you will notice from this post: the TEAs are not happy with Governor Goofball, either. The only people who are satisfied are the plutocrats.

      Same as it ever was.

      • Jimbo seems very happy with whatever the reptiliscum do; they are, after all, the party of personal responsibility.

        I was thinking that Jimbo might be a plutocrap.