Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 9:14 AM

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Republican politicians such as Tom Cotton and Tim Griffin regularly used Welspun as a backdrop for attacking the Obama administration on the Keystone pipeline. Maybe now they'll blame him for low oil prices that have caused loss of jobs at Welspun. - KUAR
  • KUAR
  • WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Republican politicians such as Tom Cotton and Tim Griffin regularly used Welspun as a backdrop for attacking the Obama administration on the Keystone pipeline. Maybe now they'll blame him for low oil prices that have caused loss of jobs at Welspun.

Welspun,
the pipemaker, has laid off more than 100 from its plant at the Little Rock Port because of the global downturn in oil prices, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported today.

Some observations:

* KEYSTONE PIPELINE: This has NOTHING to do with the Obama administration's refusal to allow the Keystone XL pipeline through the American heartland to ship Canadian tar sands across a sensitive aquifer to Texas refineries hoping to produce products to sell overseas. NOTHING. That pipe was already made at Welspun and sold.

* CORPORATE WELFARE: Welspun has received at least $6 to $7 million in corporate welfare payments of taxpayer money to locate at the port. Jobs are jobs, though these were not particularly highly compensated. The average pay was $17 an hour, but that was inflated by a relative handful of high-wage and technical jobs that lifted the lower end employees, many of them part-time laborers.

Arkansas doesn't seem likely to ever learn that we are not immune to global economic forces or that we are not an independent entity unto ourselves. You give away tax money to someone depending on the global energy market and forces beyond the governor of Arkansas's control might come back to bite you on the rear.

The Welspun layoffs come on the heels of recent reporting on the Fayetteville shale bust. That was another example of corporate welfare blindness. We gave the gas industry preferential tax treatment and lax environmental regulation and allowed them to tear up roads all the while saying any meaningful demands on the industry would "kill the goose that laid the golden egg." Well, that goose laid an egg. Gas prices plummeted; gas exploration has come to an end. We are left with the waste pits, the crumbled roads and people looking for work elsewhere. Some royalty owners made some money. The state's return on investment isn't so great.

Welspun won't reveal details about its precise employment. The state seems to believe that employment hasn't dipped low enough to kick in any clawback provisions on the taxpayer money we gave away. Perhaps I misread, but state officials don't seem too anxious to even inquire. The company received tax rebates for new jobs twice, jobs that may have evaporated.

* WATCH THAT PULP MILL: All the more reason to keep your eye on the humongous corporate welfare payment Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent to a Chinese communist billionaire to open a pulp mill near Arkadelphia — welfare that was hardly needed given the cheap timber supply that made Arkansas an obvious choice. Stay tuned. Many questions remain about what exactly that plant will produce; whether the Department of Environmental Quality is doing an adequate review of the proposal; water quality from plant discharges; the traffic of pulp haulers on county roads; and lots more. To date, all the representing for Sun Paper has come through a spokesman for the Mullenix lobbying firm and if that doesn't give you pause about the public interest, I don't know what would. They work for clients, not taxpayers, but they are hard-wired into the Republican power structure. The construction timetable has already been pushed back by six months, by the way.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Bipartisan deal to continue subsidies Trump ended. But ...

    Everyone's reporting that Sens. Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander have struck a bipartisan deal on to continue federal subsidies for health coverage that Donald Trump cut off.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    The open line, plus the day's news roundup.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • James Lee Witt corrects Trump on grade for Puerto Rico relief effort

    Donald Trump twice yesterday used James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's widely hailed FEMA director and now in the private business of assisting in disasters, as a reference on the work he's done responding to hurricanes this year. Media, particularly on the conservative end, have echoed the Trump remarks.But hold on: Witt wasn't talking about Puerto Rico.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation