February 22, 2006

Local governments approve taxpayer subsidies for Triumph Corporation

Every city in the Illinois Quad Cities has been convinced to allow an "Enterprise Zone" to be vastly expanded to include the proposed Triumph Foods pork plant.
East Moline, Moline, Silvis, Milan and Rock Island County are members of the enterprise zone. Each municipality needs to approve including the site in order for developers to receive benefits like sales-tax exemptions on buildings materials or waived building permit fees.
A previous piece in the Dispatch noted,
East Moline is proposing that the Illinois Quad Cities Enterprise Zone be expanded by 253 acres, which encompasses the 116-acre plant site. Approval would bring the $135 million to $165 million plant one step closer to construction.

In enterprise zones, developers are eligible for sales-tax exemptions on building materials and waived building permit fees. The sales taxes the Quad-Cities would lose are unknown because the amount of building materials Triumph's contractors would buy locally is unknown.

East Moline's finance director, Jim Hughes, has said the city would lose $400,000 in building permit fees if the expansion is approved.

Opponents of the plant -- who are worried about odors, noise, water contamination, an influx of immigrants and declining property values if it's built -- have been asking the enterprise zone's members not to approve the expansion.

East Moline Mayor John Thodos said Monday he doesn't see any reason why aldermen would not approve the expansion, especially since recent print and television media reports from Triumph's St. Joseph, Mo., pork plant indicated odor wasn't an issue there.
To Thodos apparently, the ONLY issue is whether it would smell. Rather sad.

Todays article continues...
East Moline aldermen approved an ordinance 6-0 to include the site in the zone. Ald. Luis Moreno, 3rd Ward, arrived at the council meeting after the vote was taken. But later, he and the other six aldermen voted unanimously to approve a resolution amending an intergovernmental agreement among the municipalities to include the site in the zone.

The Rock Island County board approved the expansion of the enterprise zone for the project with an 18-5 vote. Among the board members voting against the measure were board members Pat Moreno and Fred Schultz, Democrats whose districts are in Silvis.

The other no votes came from Bill Armstrong, D-Moline, Connie Mohr-Wright, D-Moline, and James Sallows, R-Port Byron.

Mr. Armstrong is the only board member who offered an explanation for his vote, saying he was concerned about the Triumph project for environmental reasons and didn't think they had been addressed.

The non-partisan Moline City Council voted 5-3 on two measures to expand the enterprise zone to include the pork plant and the additional acres and an amendment to an intergovernmental agreement that established the enterprise zone. Alds. Michael Carton, 2nd Ward; Dick Potter, 4th Ward; and Dorothy Armstrong, 7th Ward voted against the ordinance and resolution.

Aldermen did not discuss the expansion before the vote, but Ald. Potter said after the meeting he opposed it purely on economic issues. "I think a large entity like this that is offering substandard wages does not deserve taxpayer subsidies," he said.

"I am not against the project itself," Ald. Carton said after the meeting. "I am definitely not against economic development or creating jobs or building a state-of-the-art facility. I am against giving them incentives to do this. ... If they can't do this without incentives, then I don't know if they should be doing it in the first place," he said.

Three opponents of the project were given the opportunity to address the council before the vote.

One of them, Dawn Marner, East Moline, told aldermen it was time for them to stand up for what was right. She said that the company could very well afford to pay the sales tax on building materials, which will be waived in Illinois if the enterprise zone expansion goes through.

Arthur Norris, who lives near Barstow, spoke to the council about his environmental concerns. He also told aldermen that the location is wrong because it is in a wetland.

The other municipalities have approved the matter, and Silvis is the last municipality that will vote on the zone. Aldermen are scheduled to discuss the matter in its Committee of the Whole meeting March 21. A final vote would be on April 4.

Silvis 1st Ward Alds. Bob Cervantes and Kitty Lopez will moderate a town hall meeting about the pork plant at 1 p.m. March 19 at Porkies Restaurant, 130 1st Ave., Silvis. The meeting is for 1st Ward residents, but the public is invited to attend.
A meeting on the hog plant at Porkies. How charming.

But seriously, isn't there a degree of schizophrenia to the argument that the Triumph plant will bring vast economic development, will be a great sucess, etc. and then at the same time arguing that almost every government entity in the entire Illinois Quad Cities need to agree to give away literally millions of dollars of tax breaks and other give-aways to the corporation in order for them to locate here?

Something doesn't quite compute in all this. I think Ald. Carton's views are certainly address the concerns. Care to give your explanation?


At 2/22/2006 3:01 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Let me get this strait:So according to Stella Scneckloth and Riverstone Bob Imler,[who by the way has a vested interest in the hog plant since he works for Riverstone and they own the land that it will be on] to be against the hog plant is to be racist?!

At 2/22/2006 3:04 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Imler's proxy Scneckloth appears to be a race hustler of the classic stripe. I've read PR detailing her effort to create a race issue out of thin air and it's clear that it's not based in reality, but rather is a politically (read money) motivated effort, most likely financed and spurred on by those who stand to gain here.

But that's another issue which I may address in a later post.

At 2/22/2006 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aldermen did not discuss the expansion before the vote, but Ald. Potter said after the meeting he opposed it purely on economic issues. "I think a large entity like this that is offering substandard wages does not deserve taxpayer subsidies," he said.

Like expanding the economic development zone for Dillards at Southpark?

At 2/22/2006 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not out of the air. If you read the Paper the other day the race issue was brought up there also. Minorities have held meeting on this issue. If you want to bury your head in the sand and pretend like there is no element of race than you may want to look in the mirror and ask am I a racist.

At 2/22/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

OK, done. I'm not a racist.

Now, YOU look in the mirror and ask if you're a race hustler who is running interferance for the owners and trying to gin up a race issue so that they'll be able to hire illegals.

If you're so dim as to see racism when people are trying to ensure that local, legal residents of every ethnicity are able to hold the jobs this plant offers before hoards of imported illegals or recent immigrants from other areas of the country, then you're the one with a bizarre notion of "racism".

At 2/22/2006 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice how the Dispatch buried the votes in their rag isn't it?

At 2/22/2006 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is that there are laws in place to deal with illegals. If you are upset and don't think these laws go far enough then I suggest that you do something about it. But to try and use illegas as a reason to not bring 1000 jobs to the area is your bizarre notion. I suggest you look in the mirror a little longer next time. You seem to brush this off way to fast.

At 2/22/2006 10:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I call bullshit on you.

You WANT illegals to come here and fully support their right to work even at the expense of local residents.

If you don't agree with that, then say so, because that's what it sounds like to me.

Here's a news flash for ya. The plant isn't a black and white issue (and no, I'm not talking race.)

It involves environmental questions, social questions, economic questions, tax questions, and many other aspects.

When someone mentions that they don't want a bunch of illegal aliens coming into the area and taking jobs at the pork plant, and causing a burden on social services and law enforcement because of their language barriers and difficulty assimilating into the culture they live in, then they are discussing a real, valid quality of life issues, and issues which have been a problem in the past in nearly exactly this same situation, NOT some racist idiocy.

They're arguing that they'd rather have local residents take these jobs which is, after all, the ONLY positive which is being used to sell the plant to the area. Remember? Every time someone would bring up an objection, all they'd hear in reply was "Jobs, jobs, jobs."

Local residents, from all sorts of ethnic groups, Mexican, Latin American, Asian, and yes, white folks and many others are the ones who should get these jobs.

So, trying to ensure locals are hired rather than imported illegal aliens is now racist?

Or am I misunderstanding you?

If I've misread what you're suggesting, then clue me in. Otherwise, you make NO sense.

At 2/22/2006 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have misread me. I am saying that we have laws for illegals in this country. I believe that these laws work for the most part. If you know that there are illegals working down in the Triumph plant in St. Joseph then I think you should say that. I have heard nothing of them overtaking the plant in St. Joseph on the news. People make this claim about illegals to insite racism. That is the bottom line. If it were JD opening a facility no one would be saying it would bring in illegals. The word illegals is being used for political gain. If you are using it for another reason maybe you should explain.

At 2/22/2006 11:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

How can you say that people bring up this issue to "incite racism"??

You simply can't. If you happent to THINK that, then fine. But I happen to think you're flat wrong and that there is ZERO evidence to support your supposition. OK?

IF these opponents were racist, as you seem to be so sure of, then why would they stop at complaining about illegals? Why not say they're worried that anyone born in another country might get jobs, or that people of different ethnic groups in the QCs might get jobs?

They don't. Period.

They don't give a damn whether a person is red, yellow, brown, black or purple, as long as the jobs go to the people who are paying for the plant through subsidies and are the ones who will have to deal with and pay for environmental problems and all the rest of the costs involved in bringing this plant to the area.

Again, how can you possibly state that anyone who raises the real possibility that a large portion of the jobs at this plant will end up being taken by illegal or imported aliens is "an attempt to stir up racism"?

It's an irresponsible and absolutely baseless charge and you should be called on it.

At 2/23/2006 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how Morneno made sure to miss his vote in East Moline....Isn't he the one who said that the plant would increase crime and bring more illegals to town?? Check the old papers Dope.

At 2/23/2006 4:31 PM, Anonymous puzzler said...

Let me ask again, if East Moline is so sure that the Triumph plant is going to spur development on the property surrounding the plant, why are they putting twice as much property as the plant will occupy in the Enterprise Zone and Tax Increment Financing District? The argument is they need these incentives to attract the plant, but now they're saying they also need these incentives to attract adjacent development. I thought that's what the plant was supposed to do? I guess not.

At 2/23/2006 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you found out how many illegals are working in St. Joseph yet. You only talk about illegas taking these jobs why? The term illegals is a code word. If you were to only talk about environment and subsidies it would be one thing. However you always go back to illegals taking the jobs. If it were a plant you were for I don't think the word illegals would be brought up. Do you?

At 2/24/2006 8:36 AM, Anonymous puzzler said...

There aren't any "illegals" working in St. Joseph or for any other reputable company in this country. If a worker is in this country illegally, he or she is not able to obtain a valid social security number, driver's license, etc. necessary to get a job. Before 9-11 and crackdowns on employment of undocumented workers, it was fairly common for the Department of Immigration to "bust" industries and locations known for employing "undocumented workers". One of those industries was meat packing. When's the last time you read about an Immigration Service bust? I believe what the opponants of the plant are saying is that there aren't enough people in the Quad Cities willing to work for $8 something an hour in a building where livestock is stabbed, gutted, hung, bled and boiled. And consequently, a large number of people will have to be imported to work in the plant. Maybe they'll be imported from other areas of this country, or maybe they'll be newcomers from other countries, who have historically been willing to work in less-that-desirable conditions at less-that-desirable wages to get established here. I don't think this is a racist attitide. Classist, maybe, but not racist.

At 2/27/2006 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puzzler - where ya been? Any of the IDs you mention can be purchased for a "price" to look legit and allow illegals to work "illegally" and seem quite legal until they get tripped up - and that rarely happens if they keep their chin down and don't get in any trouble.

There are many ways to trick the system and employers are not held to a strict standard to check the cards with agencies - only to look at them for face value - if they look ok - then hire em and don't look back. Your deceased granma's SSN can be used quite effectively for such purposes for example.

Get your head out of the sand puzzler. Wake up to reality.


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