KY Governor Calls For Job Recruiting Truce Between Southern States

Gov. Bill Haslam (left) is pictured with Gov. Steve Beshear speaking to the governor of Puerto Rico at the 2012 SGA meeting. Credit: SGA

Gov. Bill Haslam (left) is pictured with Gov. Steve Beshear speaking to the governor of Puerto Rico at the 2012 SGA meeting. Credit: SGA

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says southern states should stop fighting with each other over jobs and unite as a region to recruit advanced manufacturing in an increasingly global competition.

To conclude a meeting of the Southern Governors’ Association, Kentucky’s Beshear – who is this year’s chairman – released a study on supporting the development of hi-tech manufacturing. It found that economic development incentives dished out to companies by southern states often top $100,000 per job.

“For years, the states in the American South have competed with each other, but we have moved into a new era where we not only compete with one another, and other states in the U.S., but we are competing with the world,” said Governor Beshear in a statement. “We can compete better if the region comes together on advanced manufacturing and presents a unified front. This report provides us with an important tool to begin the process.”

The 55-page document concludes states could save some money if they – instead – worked together, promoting the development of industry clusters that might cross state lines. It envisions states cooperating much like local governments do – jointly funding incentives and agreeing to split the potential tax revenues.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam isn’t buying the hand-holding. Spokesman David Smith says the administration supports the “exchange of ideas and best practices.” But the goal – he says – is still for Tennessee to become the “No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

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