Sunday, July 10, 2005
The High Price of Low Taxes
CBC News reports that "Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant" because "Ontario workers are well-trained."
"The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant. Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project. He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.Mississippi and Alabama rank near the bottom of the country in per capita tax revenues and per capita spending on education. Toyota decided that an educated workforce is more profitable than "hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies". Q.E.D. Will this slap in the face wake up the country to the realization that a decent public education system is more important than tax cuts for Ken Lay and the boys? Will it make assembly line workers realize that the party with the economic agenda that's all about tax cuts is not acting in their best interest?
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