Goodies can’t hold Hynix or Freightliner

| Print |  Email
Monday, December 01, 2008

STATEWIDE The meticulously designed SolarWorld facility that has brought hundreds of new jobs to Hillsboro did not come for free. State and local officials courted the German multinational with a plate heaped with incentives, topped by a $20 million business energy tax credit. Were it not for multiple subsidies, SolarWorld would not be cranking out solar panels in the Silicon Forest and Oregon would not have a booming new sector with seven manufacturers established and more being wooed.

Clearly incentives are useful, even essential, for jump-starting promising industries and attracting new business. But what about their staying power? How much do incentives help in the long run?

Hynix Semiconductor was Eugene’s largest employer when it announced this summer that it would close its plant and eliminate 1,400 jobs. The blow is doubly painful because Hynix benefited substantially from the state’s largesse. Hynix received $58.5 million in property tax abatements from 1998 to 2006. The company also gained from two $250,000 grants for worker training, one administered through Lane Community College and the other paid directly to Hynix.

Hynix was eligible for huge property tax breaks because it operated within one of Oregon’s 59 Enterprise Zones, which enable local governments to waive property taxes to woo businesses. Daimler/Freightliner, which recently announced plans to stop manufacturing trucks in Portland and eliminate at least 900 jobs, also was located within an enterprise zone.

But Freightliner never applied for e-zone tax breaks. The company received $1.45 million in workforce training grants and $207,000 in pollution control tax credits through an environmental program that has been discontinued, but compared to Hynix the company dined lightly at the trough.

The difference between Freightliner and Hynix is, Freightliner was built in Portland and later purchased by a German company, whereas Hynix was lured here. In the end, though, their stories are not so different. No amount of incentives could have kept them manufacturing in Oregon. The decisions were made in Germany and South Korea respectively, and the reasoning had nothing to do with loyalty or government programs. Freightliner is leaving to manufacture closer to its East Coast market and Hynix left to concentrate on more profitable computer chips than it was making in Eugene.

The closure of the Portland truck plant and a similar one in Ontario, Canada, are expected to improve Daimler’s earnings by $900 million per year by 2011.                                   

BEN JACKLET


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Finding a Balance

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 29, 2015
012915-passinvst-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Active vs. passive investing: what you need to know.


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

All Rise

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Don’t just sit there. For a healthy workplace, move up and down — and all around.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS