According to a write up in today’s Pottstown Mercury, Neapco is now moving their corporate headquarters to Michigan. A Neapco VP says this will have a minimal impact on what’s left here in Pottstown. Still very sad.
Then, as one reads along, a bomb is dropped. The article is talking about how manufacturing was consolidated in Beatrice, Nebraska and how the state of Nebraska gave Neapco a $1 million dollar loan. The expansion of production facilities in Nebraska created 70 jobs. (how nice for Nebraska)
The next paragraph made me absolutely sick. The same VP, Keith Sanford, goes on to say “no financial incentives to consolidate the company’s manufacturing in Pottstown were offered by any organization in Montgomery County or the borough.” 90 jobs were eliminated in Pottstown as a direct result. Nebraska offered Neapco financial incentives to move our jobs out of Pottstown!
Well isn’t that just special! If somebody would have called Harrisburg there is money for these types of things. Ed Rendell, when not busy yelling at Leslie Stahl, has gotten involved with numerous other communities to keep jobs in PA!
Considering that jobs are hard to come by in Pottstown, other than fast food and retail, we should have at least tried to offer them something. It sounds like they might have been receptive.
We have a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) in this town with one business in it (that I am aware of). I bet Harrisburg would have come up with money to expand on Queen Street OR build Neapco a new modern facility in our KOZ, which offers tax incentives to businesses!
We could have kept our 90 jobs and added more jobs. Instead, Nebraska added 70 more jobs and we lost 90!
Keystone Opportunity Zones are such a breakthrough idea that Business Facilities magazine calls them “the number one economic development strategy in the nation.” By eliminating specific state and local taxes within specific underdeveloped and underutilized areas, communities within Pennsylvania are experiencing economic growth and investment.
Here is a link to the website where the above quote is from:
I feel your pain Roy. WHY must this be so difficult? WHY do our council people take no initiatives? I see Mr. Bobst out in the community working, I see him at meetings and such and I hear that he carries the lions share of responsibilites – O.K. – but is this the way it is suppose to be? Where are our council people? Why aren’t they fighting for Pottstown. I seriously want to know.
Seems to me appropriate, though, to wonder if Neapco ASKED for help from Pottstown. While it may be true that no one offered, it also may be true no one knew of Nebraska’s offer or of Neapco’s intentions.
Is that unlikely? Sure. But when corporations have it in their consciousness that a move is inevitable, they’re secretive and often don’t announce their intentions, making it easier to later say “Hey, Nebraska gave us this sweetheart deal that nobody in Pennsylvania did!” The VP’s statement just makes me a tad suspicious.
Anything is possible Joe. However, our track record tends to be reactive rather than proactive. Or sit and wait until something falls from the heavens and we pounce on it.
I know corporations play games. Harley-Davidson is a great example but PA has been pretty successful negotiating with them and other companies who announced plans to move jobs from our state. I have seen what is possible when the state gets involved and can negotiate on behalf of communities. Fast Eddie wasn’t my favorite govenator by a long shot but he would jump in with both feet to keeps job in PA. I must give the man credit for that.