A 10-week vacation from corporate welfare


The lunch truck of corporate incentives got rolling again after a brief period of respite – the 10 weeks between June 15 and Aug. 24, the life span of a moratorium on corporate incentives imposed by Guilford County commissioners.

Within five weeks of the moratorium’s demise, the News & Record reported three requests for corporate welfare from Triad businesses totaling about $440,000.

It actually took longer than we thought for the upturned palms to show up, the begging cups and blind-man shades.

Because these three companies, all with standing ties to the Triad, are hurting, people. Times are tough, despite what the economic figures pirouetting from the White House say; time to tighten belts and whatnot.

Carolina Precision Plastics in Asheboro, for instance, wants to open a companion plant in Greensboro and has informed the county commissioners that $150,000 will grease the wheels nicely to advance that goal, estimating 150 full-time jobs and a $5.5 million investment from the project.

The company is comfortable with big numbers like that – in July they acquired the assets of another plastics company, Augros, Inc., with revenues of $10 million, bringing CPP’s annual sales into the neighborhood of $30 million.

Lodging by Charter, a company that makes furniture for hotels, is looking to beef up their High Point operations, proposing 57 new jobs and $2.5 million in investment. And if we’ve got an extra $114,000, that would sure help out.

But if Lodging by Charter were a broke college student, we’d probably tell her to call her wealthy parents instead of asking for a handout from the county. And Lodging by Charter has a rich daddy: Brown Jordan International, a $400 million luxury furniture behemoth with 2,000 employees and home offices in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Kay Chemical, the third impecunious corporate citizen looking for the county coffers to absorb the cost of its growth, wants $180,000 (that’s in addition to the $120,000 pledged by the Greensboro City Council) for 25 new jobs and $12 million in equipment.

Kay Chemical is a Greensboro-based company that provides sanitizing services and products for fast-food restaurants and they already employ nearly 350 people in town.

They also were acquired by Ecolab for $94 million in 1994; Ecolab issued 4.5 million shares of stock to cover 100 percent of Kay. Ecolab does about $4.7 billion – with a ‘b’ – in business annually.

Shares of Ecolab stock, which trades on the NYSE under the symbol ECL, sold in 1994 for about $5. As of last week, these same shares garner about $45, a 900 percent increase.

Makes us wish we gave $120,000 to them 10 years ago in the form of a stock purchase.