Thursday, June 23, 2011

Michigan Solar Firm Moves HQ to Indiana, Plans Over 500 New Jobs

Hey, I thought that our new business tax code was going to keep jobs here. It was supposed to be all lollipops and ponies and rainbows and no one would ever want to leave and everyone was going to move here and we didn't NEED those incentives anymore, remember?

In the case of solar company Fronius USA, located in Brighton since 2002, it looks like the tax credits that Indiana offered were too good to pass up. From the IndyStar (and a hat tip to Sven):

Electronics company Fronius USA will move its headquarters from Michigan to Portage, Ind., where it also will open a 400,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.

The state will assist the move with up to $4.25 million in tax credits, based on the company's plan to create 512 jobs in Portage by 2016. Fronius also will get property tax abatement, Indiana Economic Development Corp. said today.

The Austria-based, family owned company plans to spend $26.6 million to lease and equip the Portage manufacturing plant to produce welding technology and photovoltaic inverters for the solar power industry. The Portage site will open next summer.

Wonder if some enterprising reporter is going to ask MEDC about this, see if they made a counter-offer to keep them here. Wonder if the Michigan media will even report it. My God, if this had happened under Granholm's watch, we never would have heard the end of it. And you know it.

That's another 500 jobs lost under the Snyder plan. We can add those to the thousands of movie industry jobs already lost, and the thousands of education/public worker jobs that are currently being cut due to this budget. Who knows how many we have lost to other states because we have indicated that we are pulling back on incentives.

Anyone want to take a stab at adding all this up?

Sad thing is, it was all so predictable.

UPDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, meet the great Paul Egan of the DNews. The highlights of a very good story on this move:

The announced move of a solar technology company's U.S. headquarters from Brighton to Indiana has intensified criticism of Gov. Rick Snyder's decision to wean Michigan off tax incentives to attract and retain manufacturers.


Officials who speak for Snyder and the MEDC had no immediate comment on the Fronius announcement.


Fronius is registered in Michigan as Fronius USA LLC, meaning that like most other businesses in Michigan it would not be subject to the new corporate profits tax or any Michigan business tax, starting next year.

Indiana's corporate tax rate of 8.5 percent is slated to drop to 6.5 percent by 2015.

The Indiana news release said the Fronius announcement "comes on the heels" of two other announced moves from Michigan to Indiana.

"Earlier this month, Spartan Motors, Inc. announced its plans to relocate parts of its operations to Wakarusa from Michigan, creating up to 60 jobs by the second half of 2012," the release said.

"In May, Molded Foam, LLC announced its acquisition of a Michigan firm and intentions to relocate operations to Indiana, creating up to 45 jobs in Elkhart County by 2014."

And although a tax expert in the piece mentions the tax incentives, lower wages, and a "less unionized work force" as the reason companies may leave Michigan - keep in mind Indiana is not a right-to-work state. So don't even try that argument.

And BTW, the AP also wrote a short piece on this which was also picked up by the Freep, so it did get out there. MDP, care to chime in?