Triumph plant still not sure thing until city, county, state show them the money.
Despite the vote to approve the Triumph Hog processing plant by the East Moline city council last night, the deal is still not a sure thing.
Amazingly, though sadly not surprisingly, Triumph wants every single government entity involved to dig deep and fork over the big bucks - essentially extracting bribes for them to locate here - either by allowing Triumph to pay no taxes for years, million dollar infrastructure improvements which benefit only Triumph, and "incentive payments", otherwise known as bribes or payoffs, from the state of Illinois.
If certain steps don't fall into place, Triumph Foods LLC still could pull out of its deal with East Moline and build a pork plant somewhere else.Another article in the Dispatch/Argus is titled "Aldermen: Research changed our minds details E.Moline aldermen's rationales for approving the plant. Not mentioned was how they have no idea, really, how much this is going to cost them, the school district, the county, or state. Apparently, that wasn't too big of a concern and wasn't part of their supposed "research".
- The redevelopment agreement between the city and Triumph requires aldermen to approve and create a tax-increment finance district, encompassing the proposed plant site on Barstow Road, on or before Jan. 1, 2007.
If aldermen don't authorize the creation of a TIF district, the project will not happen, Mayor John Thodos said Tuesday.
In a TIF district, taxing bodies continue to collect existing tax revenue, but any new revenue created by the development goes into a fund to be used for public infrastructure or rebates to developers.
- The project also would depend on the proposed site's inclusion in an enterprise zone. Moline, East Moline, Silvis, Milan and Rock Island County -- members of the zone -- each will need to approve including the site in order for developers to receive benefits. Once a site is included in the zone, developers are eligible for sales-tax exemptions on building materials or waived building-permit fees.
- As mentioned in the redevelopment agreement, Rock Island County would need to commit to paying for widening Barstow Road. While county officials were privy to the agreement, the county board hasn't voted on the road project. [Said to cost at least $750,000. Final cost will most likely be much higher.]
- The deal also hinges on the state of Illinois offering Triumph an incentive package, though the company's expectations are not outlined in the redevelopment agreement. If the state doesn't offer a package, or one acceptable to Triumph, the project could fall through, Mayor Thodos said.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is talking with Triumph, department spokesman Andrew Ross said Tuesday. Generally speaking, the state could offer financial incentives to any company for job training, infrastructure improvements and corporate income tax breaks, he said.
One notable quote from Ald. Luis Moreno in the piece shows that he's no rube. He demands proof before making such serious decisions: (emphasis mine)
Last month, Ald. Luis Moreno, 3rd Ward, said he was against meat-processing plants in general, based on his experience as a former IBP employee recruiter and East Moline police officer. He said Tuesday he was worried Triumph would recruit workers from out of the area. But Triumph officials erased that worry, he said, by saying they expected to hire people from the Quad-Cities area.If that's not rock solid, I don't know what is.
Hiring imported illegal and legal immigrants from the southwest and other regions to fill most of the plant's oh-so-wonderful jobs, which after all, are pointed to by all proponents as their primary reason for approving the deal, is most certainly a serious concern. And Ald. Moreno was correct and should be commended for wanting some rock solid assurances that this would not be the case. After all, Moreno should know how these companies operate, seeing as he was actually in a position which recruited workers for IBP.
And what assurance did he get? The company told him they "expected" to hire local people, and that was good enough for Moreno. (Like Triumph CEO Hoffman saying he "doesn't foresee" Triumph using anaerobic lagoons to store and treat waste -- another common source of packing-plant odor.)
It's good to know we have such no-nonsense representatives looking out for our welfare who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of things and ensure we get a good deal in exchange for the multiple millions of dollars we're giving to this corporation.
Approve the plant. That's a valid opinion if you think the benefits outweigh the negatives. But there's precious little evidence that those responsible for making this momentous decision were even interested in doing some serious homework on the issues involved, and did so only superficially much too late in the game and only after opposition became known and they wanted to at least give the appearance of not blindly rubber stamping the project.
A couple alderman didn't even bother trying to pretend they'd done any research whatsoever, and are apparently untroubled by approving the project in near total ignorance, not knowing much of anything about the project other than it's a business and it hires people.
It's a wonder these politicians don't get motion sickness from rolling over so quickly.