Before state legislators take the plunge on Monday into the brave new world of paying giant multi-national corporations to, maybe, stick around a little longer, it would be great if they considered some of the numbers that appear below.
$4 million – The amount the state would pay Goodyear annually to retain some of its current North Carolina workforce
$11.7 million – The amount of compensation paid in 2006 to Goodyear's CEO, Robert Keegan.
$20.3 billion – Goodyear's sales in 2006
$17 billion – Total company assets
600% – growth in Goodyear's market capitalization (i.e. the value of the company) from February '03 to February ‘07
60+ – Number of Goodyear manufacturing plants
26 – Number of countries in which those plants are located
7% — Increase in revenue per tire sold in 2006
6% — Average annual growth this decade in the U.S. demand for replacement tires
$300 million per year – Amount of savings Goodyear will realize as the result of recent union concessions
$2,000 per job, per year – Amount state would pay Goodyear under House Bill 1761 if the company retains the minimum number of employees specified.
$0 – Amount of North Carolina corporate income tax that Goodyear paid
$18.1 million – Estimated annual cost of operating Goodyear's "fleet" of North American blimps
The Bottom Line: Goodyear is an enormous and growing multi-national corporation that operates on every continent on the planet. Its annual sales are roughly equivalent to the state of North Carolina's annual budget. In the big picture, whether North Carolina approves or rejects the proposed ten-year, $40 million subsidy will make no measurable difference to the company or its future. The attempt to extract a little extra cash out of the Cumberland County plant is clearly a no lose, hardball maneuver by mid-level executives looking to get a slight bump in revenues for their next annual performance review. It is, by any fair estimate, chump change to a corporation that spends more on flying blimps over sporting events in three months than the proposed annual subsidy will provide in a year. If lawmakers go along with the plan, they will reveal themselves to be just the latest in a long line of well-intended suckers to fall for the hardball tactics of a ravenous and amoral corporation that's pushing a lot of hot air.