Toyota Plant Up in the Air | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Toyota Plant Up in the Air

I wonder if we get all that tax money back if they decide to jump ship?

The Clarion Ledger reports that the MS Toyota plant - you know the one we all shoved tons of tax money into - will be suspended "until market conditions improve."

Previous Comments

ID
142306
Comment

So, one wonders if the foreign auto-makers are holding Southern Republican lawmakers hostage -- and if that is why they are pawning their souls against American car-makers right now on behalf of companies based outside the U.S.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-15T15:35:02-06:00
ID
142307
Comment

Verbatim from Wicker: WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement after Toyota announced it would delay production at its plant in Blue Springs: "This is an unfortunate reminder that Mississippi is not immune to the global economic slowdown. Today's news is disappointing, but I am encouraged by Toyota's commitment to finishing construction and to getting the Blue Springs plant operational as soon as market conditions allow. As a leading hybrid vehicle, the Prius has a very bright future in our country. And while it may have been delayed by the economic downturn, I am confident Mississippi workers will still play an important part of that future."

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-15T15:55:02-06:00
ID
142308
Comment

The following statement was released by Governor Haley Barbour today after Toyota's announcement of a delay in its Blue Springs plant: "We in Mississippi are deeply disappointed about the decision;however, Toyota emphasized the Prius plant in Blue Springs will go forward, that this is simply a delay. Toyota recognizes this delay creates extra costs for the state and local governments, and has told us they will work with us to mitigate these extra costs. "The State of Mississippi has invested about $200 million meeting infrastructure needs at the Blue Springs site; local communities have invested about $35 million. Toyota has spent about $300 million preparing the site and constructing the plant. "The company has said publicly it will retain everyone hired thus far in Mississippi, and completion of the building itself will go forward on an expeditious basis." ###

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-15T16:07:04-06:00
ID
142311
Comment

this is really unfortunate; i wonder if there are any contingency plans should toyota decide to drop out; e.g. sue to recoup lost tax investments and so forth. of course, they probably have us over a barrel.

Author
John Sawyer
Date
2008-12-15T18:06:18-06:00
ID
142312
Comment

The Commercial Appeal is reporting that the plan may be delayed indefinitely - not just postponed.

Author
John Sawyer
Date
2008-12-15T18:12:53-06:00
ID
142313
Comment

So they're contradicting Barbour, eh? This is the problem: the state puts all its eggs in these huge baskets, and we all know that the reason we're getting those companies is because unions aren't strong here. Meantime, the state (and Barbour, Bush adminstration, Clinton et al) have supported policies that have driven jobs out of the country. Now we have to beg those countries to bring us jobs back and have to promise them that they can pay our workers shit, to boot. Sigh.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-15T18:27:40-06:00
ID
142314
Comment

From the top of that piece: Toyota Motor Corp. is delaying the start of production at its plant in Blue Springs, Miss., indefinitely as the top Japanese automaker copes with the downturn in the auto industry. The plant was scheduled to begin production in 2010 and make the Prius hybrid. Comments * There are 17 responses to this article. Click here to join the conversation » STORY TOOLS * E-mail story * iPod friendly * Printer friendly related linksMore Business News * Concretely custom: Graphic artist transforms drab flooring into piece of art * People in business * What to do Share and Enjoy Share and Enjoy [?] Share on Facebook Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota's U.S. arm, said today that the plant's construction is about 90 percent complete, and Toyota will finish the building. However, the installation of the factory's equipment and machinery — "the most time-consuming" element of construction, he said — is delayed indefinitely. The roughly 100 people who have been hired to oversee construction and install human resources plans at the plant will not lose their jobs and will be assigned other duties, Goss said. "Those people's jobs are safe, and we'll find things for them to do," he said. Although Toyota's U.S. sales have held up better than those of its Detroit-based counterparts, the entire industry has seen a steep plunge, which Goss said forced Toyota to delay the plant's opening. So imagine that: even the companies from overseas building cars in anti-union states are being hurt by the auto crisis. These southern senators who are holding up the help to the auto industry had better bone up a bit on the effects of their actions. If not, they're going to be the ones who do not stop us from going into a depression. I don't like "bailout," either, but all these idiots should have seen the results of their actions (or lack of actions) before we got to this point.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-15T18:31:15-06:00
ID
142316
Comment

One reason to put the plant on hold is they don't need it now. The Prius hybrid sales have fallen from 16,737 in Nov 2007 to 8660 in Nov. 2008. Now that gas prices have gone down the few people that are buying cars and trucks are back to buying SUVs and not buying little bitty shoeboxes with wheels that are disquised as cars. I heard that one of reasons they are not putting production equipment in now is that they are going to have to do a total redesign on the Prius hybrid (which means totally different machinery) because Honda has a hybrid coming out in 2010 that will kill the rest of the Prius sales because it going to cost $4000 to $5000 less than the Prius.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T00:11:41-06:00
ID
142317
Comment

One reason to put the plant on hold is they don't need it now. That's groovy for the home office in Tokyo. But I want my cut of that $200 million back. How much is that per Mississippian?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-16T00:42:37-06:00
ID
142318
Comment

$66.66 :)

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T02:37:24-06:00
ID
142319
Comment

bubba i wouldn't say that the lowered gas prices have killed the prius sales; i think the economic downturn has killed all automotive sales (there really is not uptick in SUV sales) nevertheless, lowered gas prices to kill our attention span with respect to energy security; i wonder if anyone has the courage to raise the gas tax?...

Author
John Sawyer
Date
2008-12-16T08:56:47-06:00
ID
142320
Comment

enjoy the lower prices while you can, ultimately the price of gas will go back up and we will never see these low prices again - in our lifetime or the lives of our grandchildren....

Author
lanier77
Date
2008-12-16T09:09:58-06:00
ID
142322
Comment

John- gas prices have probably not hurt Prius sales as much as the ecomomic downturn, but they haven't helped them either. Drivers in the U.S. have never gotten on the gas saving smaller car bandwagon like the rest of the world because our gas prices have always be so much less. I've seen the complaint in all the bailout dicussions that U.S. auto companies have not build small gas saving/greener car and trucks, but the reason is- they don't sell when gas is cheap in the U.S. The majority of American drivers don't want them. They have build what the American drivers have wanted- big cars, SUVs and trucks.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T09:26:57-06:00
ID
142324
Comment

I don't like "bailout," either, but all these idiots should have seen the results of their actions (or lack of actions) before we got to this point. I so agree with that, where were all the so called experts and our leaders who should have some kind of foresight?

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-16T10:00:15-06:00
ID
142327
Comment

bubba, i tend to think, though, that drivers want what is marketed to them; now, to be fair, SUVs are handy for our extra large culture and i can see how Americans (including me at one time) want(ed) to drive them. who can put all our junk from walmart in the back of a prius? :) so its probably a dual approach (american lifestyle and Detroit marketing) ; however, if detroit had a made a really sweet hybrid and marketed the heck out of it, i bet we'd be driving more hybrids.

Author
John Sawyer
Date
2008-12-16T10:45:03-06:00
ID
142328
Comment

This is nothing like the Musgrove/McCoy beef plant.

Author
QB
Date
2008-12-16T11:25:16-06:00
ID
142329
Comment

I never understood the marketing of SUVs in the U.S., Detroit already built station wagons that could do the same thing, until I read an article in a car magazine that explained it. In the late 70's early 80's when the U.S. switched to unlead gas and the gov't established corporate gas mileage averages ,the auto makers could kill off the station wagon ,gussy up the utilitarian SUV to appeal to the U.S. buyers and not have to meet those regulations because trucks that big were exempt from them at that time. The drivers got what they want and auto makers made more money because the did not have to design a vehicle to meet the regulations. Till they can make a hybrid with at least 300hp and 350 ft/lbs of torque there will be no hybrid for me. :)

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T11:26:11-06:00
ID
142330
Comment

Fat Harry-?????

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T11:26:59-06:00
ID
142331
Comment

Actually, it has some things in common with the beef-plant fiasco, and with Nissan. And I assume you know that Barbour was also a big supporter of the beef-plant mess; that one was bipartisan idiocy at its finest, regardless of how much talk radio tries to pin it on just one party. When are you guys going to take off your partisan blinders and let the chips fall where they may, regardless of whether someone of your party ends up not looking good? I can't imagine living in a world where I feel I have to defend someone just because they're part of a particular political party. The problem here is giving these companies so much taxpayer money while not giving enough support to good locally owned companies that have a stake in Mississippi. Toyota has no stake in Mississippi.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-16T11:31:07-06:00
ID
142333
Comment

WMartin, we elected those brain-dead "leaders." There were lots of "experts" predicting the mess we're in starting way back in the '60s and '70s, but the American public, government and industry all chose to look the other way. Why? Money. It's easy to blame Detroit for the entire mess, but the tax code (specifically section 179) has to be looked at, too, along with our own consuming behavior. Section 179 allowed people to take huge first-year deductions of $25,000 plus 25 percent of the sticker price off those big SUVs if they were used at least 50 percent for business purposes. The IRS took a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" attitude about enforcing the usage requirements. So, as consumers, it was less expensive to buy a gas-guzzling behemoth than an environmentally sound small car. Detroit fed into the mess because of consumer demand, created by the government conveniently allowing the tax loophole to flourish and grow, making it ever-so attractive to produce and buy bigger and bigger vehicles. As Pogo said: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-12-16T11:54:09-06:00
ID
142335
Comment

Bailout to keep paying inflated union wages and bloated pension plans? No thanks.

Author
QB
Date
2008-12-16T15:58:08-06:00
ID
142336
Comment

why is that the conversation has been about the union wages and not about the executive level salaries? and the wages for union workers wouldn't need to be so high if we had better social programs, reliable public transit, and free health care. oops, that's socialism! but isn't it capitalistic to fight the highest wage? what gives!

Author
John Sawyer
Date
2008-12-16T16:21:18-06:00
ID
142337
Comment

John, I would guess that even with the executives getting paid millions their salaries don't add nearly as much to the cost of producing a car as the union wages do. Just a guess.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T17:06:11-06:00
ID
142341
Comment

I don't get the point, Bubba. Does it not bother you more that the executives get paid millions than that unions negotiate for decent wages? I mean, there isn't a moral equivalency between the two.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-16T21:41:36-06:00
ID
142342
Comment

my point... made much more concisely!

Author
John Sawyer
Date
2008-12-16T22:04:41-06:00
ID
142347
Comment

Big business has no morals. :)

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-16T23:58:30-06:00
ID
142348
Comment

That's true. But the question here isn't really about that. It's about the priorities of our governor and elected officials. Do they value the rights of executives over those of workers? That's a vital question, and it can't be answered by the kind of nonsensical whining about communism/socalism that big-business Republicans have done in recent years.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-17T00:05:26-06:00
ID
142349
Comment

Sure they do Bubba, but their morals are different. Morals are a list of values made by choice and what Big Business values is evident in the choices they make. I think Fat Harry's post left out the fat cat Executives who have run their respective companies into the ground. They shouldn't be bailed out either. If the company isn't profitable or can't stand on it's own then bankruptcy is the solution provided in our system. They will restructure like the airlines. Did the restructuring of the airlines break those Unions? Jobs will be lost. But if those positions can't be supported by the market conditions they are gone anyway. Only a sustained subsidy could protect a job that is not profitable for the company.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T08:30:15-06:00
ID
142355
Comment

Bailout to keep paying inflated union wages and bloated pension plans? No thanks. That statement so intrigued me that I did a little research. In 2007, the total compensation for the five (yes, five) top GM executives came to $25,144,037. I couldn't find the exact figures for Daimler Chrysler, but even in the midst of this mess, they still plan to pay out $30 million in retention bonuses next year. Given that the average S&P 500 CEO salary last year ran about $14.2 million, we can safely assume that Chrysler's top execs make about what GMs do. So between the two companies, that's about $50 million in top compensation last year. With Chrysler's bonuses (which go to more than just the top guys), that comes to about $80 million for the executives at the two companies, and that's conservative. If they pay every one of their union workers an $80,000 annual salary, that's 1,000 jobs. But the median salary for an American worker is less than $35,000. At that rate, we're talking closer to 2,300 jobs. So why, exactly, are we talking about "bloated" union salaries? I'm no fan of the auto bailout based on what I've seen so far, but unions are the wrong target when we talk about compensation bloat.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-12-17T10:25:30-06:00
ID
142357
Comment

Because many people pick up the easy memes and pass them on without thought or factchecking. Thanks for that comment, Ronni.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-17T10:51:07-06:00
ID
142359
Comment

If the market has set the average CEO salary at the number you cited then by definition that wouldn't be bloated. You can say it's too much based on the performance of these particular executives but if they are replaced with other good Executives the new ones will demand a salary at or about the same level of compensation. Your point about how many jobs could be paid for using the executive's salaries is interesting but not particularly useful in that the Big 3 could afford to do a lot of things if the company didn't have to pay for other necessary items. I guess we could debate whether executives are necessary or not. When you can point to other workers in the same industry willing to do the same jobs as those union workers for less compensation it's not hard to see where the industry is bloated.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T11:11:49-06:00
ID
142360
Comment

If the market has set the average CEO salary at the number you cited then by definition that wouldn't be bloated. I think people are arguing from two different planets on this one. So, WMartin, the market can do no wrong? This is kinda a scary statement.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-17T11:15:39-06:00
ID
142361
Comment

Well if the market doesn't control it, who will? Bureaucrats? We gonna set salaries by law? I think that is scarier than the freedom of the market.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T11:27:43-06:00
ID
142362
Comment

Perhaps, WMartin, it's not so either-or. Perhaps both the "market" and the "bureaucrats"—or elected public servants—can play a role. It's not like the market left to its own devices is the be-all, end-all.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-12-17T11:31:05-06:00
ID
142363
Comment

But perhaps it is. Maybe that's why capitalistic markets are so much more successful than their government controlled counterparts. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T12:35:54-06:00
ID
142365
Comment

Union autoworkers don't make that much more than non-union autoworkers. Ford union workers make an average $53 /hr and at Honda and Toyota make $45 on average. They all make more than twice the national average for industrial workers(around $22.00/hr.) In general autoworkers union and non-union have bloated wages compared to other workers. The advantage the Japanese companies have is they don't have 100's of thousands retirees pensions to pay or 12,000 laid off union workers sitting at home still drawing full salary and benefits through the job banks program. Ronni- If the average S&P 500 CEO salary is 14.2 million and GM spent 25 Million on 5 executives that's 5 million each,right? Aren't they underpaid compared to other executives? :)

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-17T13:46:46-06:00
ID
142366
Comment

WMartin, I'm not sure I understand your meaning of "success" within the context of the current economic crisis. Sure, the markets are, and probably always will be, successful in the short term. They have repeatedly NOT been successful in the long term, however, otherwise we wouldn't see the endless repeats of economic bubbles, recessions, depressions and Wall Street frauds like Madoff, et al. that hurt millions at the cost of their "success." The market has repeatedly proven itself unable to govern itself to act like responsible citizens of the world. Markets grab for the big bucks while trampling anyone underfoot who isn't along for the ride. That whole "have your cake and eat it, too" argument is tired. The only people having and eating are a few at the very, tip top of the economic ladder.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-12-17T14:03:38-06:00
ID
142367
Comment

Bubba T, I miscalculated. The top 5 made $38,954,972, with the top guy making $14.4 million. Thanks for making me check. It's actually worse than I thought.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-12-17T14:10:34-06:00
ID
142368
Comment

I don't know why you can't understand it or won't. It seems simple enough. Even with all of the natural ups and downs of life people living in capitalistic "free market" systems still have a higher standard of living than those in others. The Kiplinger piece you attached to your post earlier about the enemy being us was right on the money I thought. Consumerism with no conscience is just as bad as anything that the "evil" corporations do. Well almost. BubbaT- pensions, healthcare benefits, paid vacation and stuff like that are considered compensation for labor.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T14:27:29-06:00
ID
142369
Comment

Ronni- While that's a obscene amount of money for anyone to make, it's still inline with the other SP500 executives, if I am calculating right, so all executives not just the auto industries executives are overpaid. What bothers me more about people get paid obscene amounts of money are athletes. The top 25 athletes in the world in 2006, made 621.2 million all together an average of 24.8 million each. They make this to play kids games and drive race cars. The American people will spend money to support athletes by buying tickest, jerserys,products they in endorse but won't spend any where near that amount of money to educate our kids. Teachers get paid an average of $51,000.00 While this is totally off the subject of the auto industry, it's more morally wrong than what auto executives get paid.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-17T14:37:52-06:00
ID
142370
Comment

WMartin- The $53 figure for Ford includes all that for workers who actually work, the mythical $70 UAW wages includes penison and health care for retired workers. While that can be figured into the hourly cost of producing a car, you can't figure it in workers salaries cause, those people aren't working.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-17T14:49:17-06:00
ID
142371
Comment

WMartin- search "The Myth of the $70 Auto worker"

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-17T14:52:10-06:00
ID
142373
Comment

BubbaT- The market sets the price for athletes. There is no moral component to it. There are only a few people who can perform at that level so they fetch enormous amounts of money. If there were only a few teachers the same principle would apply. It's as simple as supply and demand. I will look that up thanks for the idea.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T15:14:42-06:00
ID
142375
Comment

That's what obscene about it the American people care more about being entertained and spend vast sums of money that supports pro athletes than they do their children. I don't care how good they are at their sport that doesn't justify the amounts of money they are paid. To hell with supply and demand. What's more important to you your child's education and welfare or being entertained by an athlete to play a kids game.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-17T15:56:50-06:00
ID
142376
Comment

True, personally I don't watch sports. But it is what it is. Your larger point is well taken though, If the American consumer cared about saving the Big 3 and their unions we could support them with our purchases but we (collectively) haven't. Why should we do it with our tax dollars? It should be a selling point on cars and trucks that they are American made by union workers. We as consumers have the power to stop corporate shenanigans and greed. If we chose to vote with our dollars by buying products from companies whose values we share. But that seems to be too much trouble for most people. That's the free market solution to this mess but I guess we are all too lazy.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T16:10:13-06:00
ID
142377
Comment

Hey Guys, One way our society supposedly counters the capitalistic tendency to skim the dollars of the many to lavish millions on the few, is a progressive tax structure...which sadly has become more than unfaily regressive (when you include SS income tax contribution caps, lower rates for capital gains, and tax loop holes.) Re-distribution of income is good, especially when you consider the time tested alternative...violent revolution...off with their heads!

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-12-17T16:11:38-06:00
ID
142378
Comment

On the "morality" of lavish salaries for corporate execs, athletes and entertainers. Morally, the lavish salaries are ok. Morals are only the personifications of the ever changing behavorial values of societies. In our current society...greed is good! Ethically, the lavish salaries are unconscionable. Unlike the ever changing "moral" landscape, ethics, and ethical behavior (or judgements), are based on unshakeable truths. Truths usually codified in a spiritual context or document. That's the "Word of GOD" for the unlearned and unbelieving among us! Spititual truths documented in the Talmud, Old Testament, New Testamemnt, Koran, etc..and simply summarized by Jesus..namely, obey the "10 Commandments" plus "Love thy neighbor as thy self" Need a definition of Love? Try 1 Corinthians 13: 4 & 5, and 1John 3:16 & 17. That's First John...not simply John. A lot of people who choose not to believe in God have confused the concept of God with the worship practices of man (organized religion). Believe, they are not necessarially the same. So a moral evaluation of salaries will eventually be reduceed to the circular discussion on the pros and cons of "capitalistic markets" as God conversation.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-12-17T16:34:55-06:00
ID
142379
Comment

I just had to do a little crunching with BubbaT's numbers. If a union auto worker makes $53 an hour for 40 hours for 52 weeks that's a little over $110,000.00 a year. I don't think he included benefits in that figure but he didn't say. He did say that was an average so there are people making more and people making less. If those numbers are true then it's no wonder their companies are bankrupt. It sounds to me like everyone in that industry is overpaid.

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T17:32:13-06:00
ID
142383
Comment

Wmartin- The $53 was for Ford which included health care and other benefits for workers, but did not include penisons for retire workers that everyone seems to incluce in what union workers make. And when you have 50,000 workers, as in Ford case (just in auto production), making that much its unreal what it cost them to make cars.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2008-12-17T19:00:19-06:00
ID
142384
Comment

I'm not an accountant but those pension payments are probably classified as a payroll liability. So an overall payroll number would include those as well. Then you tack on the additional 7.5% fica. and god knows what other taxes. wow

Author
WMartin
Date
2008-12-17T21:40:33-06:00
ID
142386
Comment

Bubba T and WMArtin, Please read this article for better information on how the $50 - $70 per hour number was derived. http://mediamatters.org/columns/200811250012 To summarize the 50/70 is TOTAL LABOR COST per active worker, and includes much more than the hourly wage and benefits of the current worker. Total labor costs include pensions for retired workers, healthcare for retired workers, the auto industrie "Job Bank" (you get paid for not working). The on the line, go to work everyday employee averages $25 per hour.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-12-18T07:56:57-06:00

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