Is VW Chattanooga right or wrong to bypass Georgians?

No production worker from Georgia has benefited from the new VW Chattanooga plant, AJC staffer Dan Chapman is reporting.

What do you think of this?

Volkswagen officials bluntly explain their parochial pattern: Tennessee gave them $577 million in tax breaks and other financial inducements so, naturally, those from that state get the jobs, Chapman writes.

But Georgia and the local officials around West Point did not take the same approach with the Kia plant — even though $469 million in incentives were spent there, Chapman writes. One-fourth of the workers there are from Alabama.

“With all those tax breaks, maybe they should’ve worked harder to keep the jobs in Georgia,” Tim Stennett, an unemployed engine builder from Ranger, told Chapman.

Which side are you one?

Are VW and Tennessee justified in keeping the work for themselves?

Or is it short-sighted to bypass Georgians, given how interconnected local economies are these days — not to mention all the joblessness in north Georgia?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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130 comments Add your comment

buzz

January 21st, 2011
5:46 am

Chattanooga has a much larger population than West Point, so I can see why workers at the Kia plant would come from outside that city.

Chattanooga has 170,000 people, it is the 4th largest city in Tennessee. A city that large should have enough people and business to support an auto plant, unlike West Point, population 3,000.

Karl Marx

January 21st, 2011
6:35 am

After reading the initial story I can tell you I will bypass a VW dealership when looking for my next car.

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Edward

January 21st, 2011
6:49 am

So another “Sonny Purdue” lie… what else is new… Maybe they should have put the plant in Oaky Woods…..

Tim Slim

January 21st, 2011
6:50 am

Rocky Top vs. UGA another win for Tennessee. Get over it. Cut your State tax and maybe Tennessee will give you some crumbs.

Charles

January 21st, 2011
7:11 am

Kia should have gave all of their jobs to GEORGIANS!

Cletus

January 21st, 2011
7:13 am

The paper runs this story and then another one about GA graduates not being able to pass basic math classes. Why would you hire employees that can’t even do simple math or (from this story) speak in coherent and complete sentences?
“They should think about us that’s struggling”…perhaps you should attend some English classes and see how that works out for you.

Betty

January 21st, 2011
7:26 am

Wondering, would VW have a problem cashing my check for a new Passat, especially since the check would be from a bank in GEORGIA. Not a real problem for me….as long as I only have to pay Georgia Sales Tax!

karl marx's dad

January 21st, 2011
7:30 am

“After reading the initial story I can tell you I will bypass a VW dealership when looking for my next car.”
- Karl – if you had a brain – you would be mad at Kia – Not VW – that could be the dumbest statement i have heard this year

Browncoat

January 21st, 2011
7:35 am

If you dont like what VW is doing, vote with your pocketbook. DON’T buy a VW.

Drifter

January 21st, 2011
7:36 am

VW should do what’s best for VW and it’s customers – hire the best workers and use the best suppliers. I can believe that some of them would not be from Georgia.

NotImpressed

January 21st, 2011
7:38 am

Why in the world would anyone think a company in another state is obligated to hire Georgia workers? If Georgia wanted the job opportunities bad enough the state should have done more to attract the business here.

Lee Iacocca

January 21st, 2011
7:44 am

If the VW is made in Tennessee it’s still a foreign car! Amazing.

Drifter

January 21st, 2011
7:50 am

They’re certainly not obligated, but it sounds like they’ve excluded Georgians as a policy. Maybe it was a condition of Tennessee’s bribery (or “tax breaks”).

freemarket

January 21st, 2011
7:52 am

It’s just not fair. Nothing wrong with hiring in the state that gave them the tax breaks to build there. GA should have won the site if they expected any benefits from it.

Danny G

January 21st, 2011
7:53 am

Probably part of the deal cut with VW and the State of Tenn, along with millions of dollars in tax cuts for VW. Typical business deals done by State Government. Don’t you wish you could go to the State and say, hey, I make x amount of dollars and I will live in your state if you charge me lower taxes.

Shadow7071

January 21st, 2011
7:54 am

Some of the incentives given to VW were Federal training dollars earmarked for the Region. From what I read VW was envisioned as a regional economic engine that would benefit Tn, Ga and Al but Chattanooga has grabbed (or trying to grab) all of the gold.

Buzz @5:46 To prospective businesses Chattanooga chamber promotes the availability of a regional workforce to draw upon.

Ron

January 21st, 2011
7:58 am

We’re a small engineering firm and were told by Chamber officials that we were not welcome because we were outsiders. Didn’t live in Chattanooga.

mike

January 21st, 2011
7:59 am

I don’t see what the problem is. It’s obvious those Georgia officials who courted that company failed. Maybe they should have spent more time trying to bring jobs here and less time playing partisan politics.

Cayce

January 21st, 2011
8:06 am

I grew up in Ringgold, a stone’s throw from the TN border and 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. It’s closer than most people in the Atlanta area are to this downtown. The reason people from GA expected to be hired is because the entire region encompasses the economic engine that is Chattanooga, not just the TN portion. Northwest GA & Northeast AL comprise some of the largest suburbs in the area, contributing greatly to the tax base that lured VW to the area. TN has no state income tax, and they have a very high sales tax that the whole region pays, because most of the shopping and services are in TN.

Perhaps Dalton, an area hard hit by the recession, should lay off all of the workers they have with TN addresses. That should free up several thousand jobs for North Georgians.

VW sucks

January 21st, 2011
8:07 am

Lousy car anyway, no matter who builds it, but yet another reason to bypass that horribly made auto…..

Blackland

January 21st, 2011
8:13 am

If you live in Georgia, are unemployed and live near Chattanooga simply move to TN and get the job with VW. Problem solved, you get a job and we get the unemployed out of Georgia.

VW Rules

January 21st, 2011
8:14 am

Great car. Great carmaker. They owe GA and its workers nothing. Zero. And, BTW, I bought a VW last year. Best car I’ve ever owned!

Drifter

January 21st, 2011
8:15 am

The problem is simple. It’s obvious they’ve cut some kind of deal with the Tennessee government, which means the government is now part of the decision making process of the company.If VW finds a better supplier in Georgia, they can’t use them…sounds a little too much like the mob-controlled construction business in New York City. Is it OK just because the Tennessee government is the mob in this case?

Tow Truck Driver

January 21st, 2011
8:20 am

I love VW’s, lol

editor

January 21st, 2011
8:23 am

Tennessee is spelled incorrectly!

Browncoat

January 21st, 2011
8:24 am

Look, VW was founded by Hitler and the Nazi’s, what should we expect?

TN sounds good to me.

January 21st, 2011
8:27 am

First GA wanted the Tennessee River, now it’s claiming rights to jobs located within TN..what’s next? Dollywood?

Vdawg

January 21st, 2011
8:28 am

Tennessee has no State income tax but rather an elevated sales tax that is boosted by north Georgians that OFTEN shop and dine in Chattanooga. TN residents have ALWAYS benefited from jobs in Northwest Georgia carpet mills and they get here on the highways that OUR income taxes pay for…..NOT theirs. This action will ensure I will drive an extra 15 minutes to Kennesaw now and you bet your last dollar I won’t get there in a Volkswagen.

hdhd

January 21st, 2011
8:34 am

“No worker or supplier from Georgia has benefited from the new VW Chattanooga plant…”

Why should they? Has GA done anything to entice VW to hire Georgians?

Tax breaks to corporations never creates jobs…..right? Tennessee gets it. Wake up.

(But really, VWs suck, don’t waste your money.)

oldtime

January 21st, 2011
8:34 am

But, North GA got the Costco!!!

Actually ... KIA sucks

January 21st, 2011
8:39 am

Lousy car period, no matter if it is made by mostly GA workers. They could give me a lifetime warranty and MANY would never purchase that auto.

Road Scholar

January 21st, 2011
8:45 am

With all the whininng above, posters forget this is alledgedly a red state based on free trade and no regulations! VW is a public company who can do whatever they please. You forgot your mantra? Oh, it doesn’t apply when it affects you?

OoltewahBoy

January 21st, 2011
8:47 am

Henry,
You neglected to mention in your summary that TN stated there is no requirement in the deal that VW only hire TN people. Then you went on to ask if VW AND TN are justified. You intentionally left out facts of the story so you could make it sound like TN was making VW hire only TN people. Since that’s the case, VW has every right to choose who they hire. They could choose to only hire people from Hamilton County if they wished. Even if VW did hire some Georgians it would not solve unemployment in North Georgia. This isn’t about whether TN or VW is being fair. It’s about the state of Georgia failing it’s people.

Obama Zombie

January 21st, 2011
8:49 am

Yep, Carl Marxx (above) is a true commie-Tenn put up the money and Carl wants to get part of it for GA just like his president,LOL. Yes, i do live in Ga!

joe

January 21st, 2011
8:52 am

TN beats GA again…59-57 in hoops and 1-0 in landing VW’s plants.

Browncoat

January 21st, 2011
8:52 am

Road Scholar, you are correct, VW is free to hire whomever they wish, and we are free to respond however we wish. Which includes “whining”, complaining, boycotting, etc. I don’t see any inconsistency.

OoltewahBoy

January 21st, 2011
8:55 am

To Obama Zombie: LOL

Drifter

January 21st, 2011
8:55 am

A free market doesn’t exist when governments start cutting deals with private companies, as they have done in this case. The market is only free when the government stays completely out of it.

TN, the land of spoiled crybabys

January 21st, 2011
8:58 am

OoltewahBoy – No, VW is probably violating MANDATED EEO hiring practices. Cry all you want (like most people from TN), the facts are the facts and right now, something in TN smells like Knoxville.

bo

January 21st, 2011
9:05 am

the question is why didn’t Perdue hold Kia to similar hiring practices?

Spectre

January 21st, 2011
9:07 am

“TN, the land of spoiled crybabys” you are correct. Just like Knoxville… only larger.

rb

January 21st, 2011
9:09 am

Relax folks!!! Georgia mechanics will have plenty of work after these cars have been on the road for a few months.

Drago

January 21st, 2011
9:11 am

Seems pretty simple to me.

Boycot Volkswagen.

Actually ... KIA sucks

January 21st, 2011
9:15 am

“Relax folks!!! Georgia mechanics will have plenty of work after these cars have been on the road for a few months.”

So true for the Kia products, we make ‘em here, and well repair ‘em too.

Hmmm

January 21st, 2011
9:17 am

“Boycot Volkswagen.”

Don’t you mean boycott? I wonder if their was a spelling test to gain employment w/ VW?
PS – Boycotts don’t work. But, go for it Drago!

db

January 21st, 2011
9:18 am

WRONG – Do you know how many Alabama residents are working at the Kia plant?

Hmmm

January 21st, 2011
9:19 am

there NOT their … I should get my secretary to blog for me as well!

jcatl

January 21st, 2011
9:22 am

Tennessee’s governor was able to land the plant. Georgia was not because of our mentally challenged and morally bankrupt governor. To the victor go the spoils.

At least if you buy a Passat you will know that Americans assembled it.

worth repeating

January 21st, 2011
9:26 am

“…VW has every right to choose who they hire. They could choose to only hire people from Hamilton County if they wished. Even if VW did hire some Georgians it would not solve unemployment in North Georgia. This isn’t about whether TN or VW is being fair. It’s about the state of Georgia failing it’s people.”

Stupid moron georgians are mad at VW & TN. IT’S SONNY’S FAULT FOLKS, all he could manage was a KIA plant.