December 7, 2012

Why Not Rhode Island?

Patrick Laverty

In an interview with Brian WIlliams, Apple CEO Tim Cook yesterday said:

"We've been working for years on doing more and more in the United States. Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States."
The article doesn't say where in the US that Apple will begin their manufacturing. Maybe that hasn't been decided yet. However if you were in charge of a state that was economically distressed and heard this type of news, wouldn't you immediately perk up and start putting in calls on behalf of your state?

Now before anyone gets excited, I'm not advocating for any EDC-type loans to Apple. I'm fairly certain the company doesn't need a cash handout. However, if our current corporate tax laws aren't a good fit, I'd certainly put that on the table for negotiations. I have said many times that we should simply fix the corporate tax laws so these types of negotiations and deals aren't necessary, but we're not there yet. If the company wants to move some manufacturing to the US, and a large part of that decision is PR-related, then why not Rhode Island? Imagine the positive PR if in some time, Apple can claim to have saved the Rhode Island economy.

Just as Governor Chafee visited the Dassault headquarters in France recently to keep up relations with the company to the benefit of 350 employees in Rhode Island, he should be looking to begin conversations with a company like Apple. Get Mr. Cook on the phone and invite him to Rhode Island immediately for a site visit. Show them how we have Quonset for shipping, we're very close to a couple information technology hubs in Boston and New York, and we have a large and available workforce.

If Apple is looking to ship some jobs to the US to build their Mac computers, the leadership in Rhode Island should be sleeping out overnight on CEO Cook's doorstep looking to get the brand within our borders.

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All it should take is one look at RIFuture and some Projo headlines to send them running straight to Virginia or South Carolina.

Progressives screaming for corporate blood, Brown socialists, Occupy Providence, high taxes, militant unions with bullhorns, EDC central planning, politicians going to prison every month, municipal bankruptcies, monstrous unfunded pension liabilities... why would any business in their right mind locate in Rhode Island?

Posted by: Dan at December 7, 2012 5:38 PM

Don’t forget to tell Apple that RI is almost at the end of the New England shipping supply lines for raw materials and fuel supplies driving the cost up. RI has winters with high heating costs and humid summers requiring large air-conditioning costs. The roads and bridges in RI are ranked some of the worst in the nation and RI is moving forward with an off-shore wind farm for Block Island that over the 20 year lifespan of the power purchase agreement with annual COLA will drive the electric costs in RI to the highest and most costly electricity in the nation!

Posted by: KenW at December 7, 2012 5:49 PM

"All it should take is one look at RIFuture and some Projo headlines to send them running straight to Virginia or South Carolina."
Although to be fair the same tripe can be found at the Blue Virginia blog.
The difference there they are the DECIDED minority in the state.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at December 7, 2012 8:37 PM

Simulia, the Dassault subsidiary, is a RI success story. In their highly technical field, there are three development centers, LA, Pittsburgh and Providence. They are in Providence because some Brown (non)socialist engineering prefessionals started off here about 1970. By and large, they were ignored by government, which was probably to their benefit. But when the founders sold in a deal valued at $440 million, it was hard to continue ignoring them.
Credit where credit is due to the Governor and hopefully the State House clown posse won't enact software export excise taxes....

Posted by: chuckR at December 9, 2012 4:05 PM

"then why not Rhode Island?"

We don't have the infrastructure. We built a $110M 'road to nowhere' in Quonset, where they are treating prime shipping square footage like an office park that could exist virtually anywhere else in the state.

If we want manufacturing, we absolutely need to have an air-road-rail-sea nexus between Quonset and T.F. Green.

We also don't have people who are properly trained to run the equipment. My 70 year-old uncle was lured from retirement by his company because they couldn't find anyone able to run the machines. It took years to find a replacement for him.

Rhode Island also has a history of providing incentives and then 'snapping back' once a business is established.

Also: "All employers, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall establish a regular payday within nine (9) days from the end of the
payroll period on which all wages shall be paid in full"

So biweekly pay is a mess here, you have to pay workers weekly or (speculatively) one week ahead if you want to comply with the law. No other state has such a ridiculous restriction. Small businesses usually just ignore this, but that's not an option for any company large enough to have a full-time lawyer or payroll expert.

Posted by: mangeek at December 10, 2012 10:07 AM

We already have an air-road-rail-sea nexus at Quonset. What does T.F. Green bring to the table? Its taken the better part of 40 years to get to the current level of employment at Quonset.
The people didn't want a container port here at Quonset - slowly but surely we'll get one anyway. I don't understand the hysteria about it. The car carriers coming in that make Davisville the 5th largest car import port on the East Coast don't bother anyone.
"Rhode Island also has a history of providing incentives and then 'snapping back' once a business is established." Fine with me - I'm no fan of perpetual welfare of any kind. Sooner or later, people and companies need to stand on their own. But that also means a better business climate is essential and a better personal economic/tax climate for business owners.

Posted by: chuckr at December 10, 2012 1:44 PM
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