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.”