economic development

Fitzhugh seeks AG opinion on regulation of chicken farms (with almost 600 more needed to supply Tyson Foods in West TN)

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, has asked for a state attorney general’s opinion on legal issues surrounding a planned Tyson Foods chicken processing plant at Humboldt and 590 new commercial chicken farm operations that will be needed to supply poultry for the plant and an expanding Tyson operation at Union City.

Groundbreaking for the new facility was held Wednesday, though Tennessee Star reports the state Department of Environment and Conservation has so far denied two water pollution runoff permits needed for construction of the processing plant. In a follow-up article today, the online arch-conservative conservative website notes that Karl Dean, also running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, was on hand for the groundbreaking event — or, in the Star’s words, “cheering ‘big meats’ newest location.” It references a Dean Facebook post saying Tyson will be “a great partner in making sure we continue to have the workforce for good jobs.”

At the ceremony, Tyson officials announced a $500,000 grant to Gibson County, reports the Jackson Sun.

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Black wants Memphis Megasite redo; other guber candidates would stay the project’s course

Diane Black has taken a strikingly different stance on developing the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County notes the Jackson Sun in a Thursday article rounding up comments from other gubernatorial candidates on the subject. Black proposes to turn the megasite into an “agricultural hub” instead of continuing the so-far-unsuccessful effort to get a big new business located there.

Black outlined her proposal in an Commercial Appeal op-ed piece back in late April, declaring the project has been “a boondoggle from the beginning” and “thoroughly mismanaged by the bureaucrats in Nashville” – including, presumably, fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd, who headed the Department of Economic and Community Development for a period of the megasite’s development.

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Trump tariffs get TN criticism and cause concern over economic impact

Republicans are bitterly protesting the Trump administration’s decision to impose sweeping tariffs on U.S. allies with Tennessee’s two U.S. senators among them. Economically, there are suggestions Tennessee could suffer more than most states because of reliance on vehicle manufacturing and, politically, Politico reports Republicans are alarmed that the White House ignored their frenzied lobbying campaign and afraid that the party could suffer at the polls in November.

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April figures show TN employment higher, wages lower

Tennessee employers added 45,000 jobs across the state in the past year, lowering the state’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate from 4 percent a year ago to 3.4 percent last month, reports the Times Free Press. But the average hourly wage paid Tennessee workers was lower than a year ago.

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Guber forum: Harwell and Boyd clash on ECD grants; Fitzhugh criticizes Dean

In a gubernatorial candidate forum Tuesday, House Speaker Beth Harwell promised, if elected, to reject any state-funded financial incentives for businesses moving into Middle Tennessee, reports The Tennessean. Fellow Republican candidate Randy Boyd, a former ECD commissioner, rejected the idea.

On the Democratic side, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh criticized his primary opponent, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, on his handling of federal relief funding after a 2010 flood hit the city.

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State paying $17.5M to New York firm for moving to Nashville — along with targeted tax break

The state Department of Economic and Community Development has agreed to give $17.5 million to AllianceBernstein for moving its headquarters from Manhattan to Nashville, reports the Nashville Business Journal.   A bill approved by the legislature this year also gives the company a tax break that served to “sweeten” state support for the move, says the state’s ECD commissioner.

The Beacon Center of Tenessee, which has been crusading against “corporate welfare,” had urged that AllianceBernstein get nothing in the way of taxpayer-funded incentives. The global financal firm announced with Gov. Bill Haslam last month that it will bring 1,050 jobs to the state’s capitol city, investing about $70 million.

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Haslam spending the week in United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE  Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe will travel to Europe May 4 to May 11 for an economic development trip designed to strengthen ties with European businesses and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tennessee.

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Legislators authorize utilities funding chambers of commerce (updated and corrected)

Legislation authorizing natural gas utility companies to provide funding to local chambers of commerce was approved by the Senate on Wednesday. The House initially spurned the bill, but then reconsidered and approved it in the waning moments of the 2018 session.

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Haslam voices misgivings about recruiting new Amazon HQ to Nashville

Gov. Bill Haslam sounded apprehensive when asked recently about the prospect of Nashville landing the immense second headquarters planned by retail behemoth Amazon.com, reports the Nashville Business Journal.

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Lee, Boyd differ on megasite development at guber forum

Two leading Republican candidates for governor in Tennessee drew a contrast over an economic development “megasite” during a forum Thursday, reports the Associated Press.

At the Tennessee Press Association forum, former state economic development chief Randy Boyd said it’s worth the time and remaining investment of $70 million-plus to the Memphis Regional Megasite because it could help create more than 30,000 jobs.

But businessman Bill Lee said there isn’t currently a workforce prepared for the jobs that the megasite might attract.

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