Let’s see how many dirty political games you can fit into one case – from union thuggery to corporate welfare, to rent-seeking to holding taxpayers and employees hostage – the Harley case encompasses it all!
Governor Rendell’s commitment to keeping Harley in York has been unwavering. He especially asked the secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to identify any means of support that they can provide. He, then, promised the CEO of Harley that he would do everything in his power to ensure that the firm remains in the region, and provide assistance in the time of recession, albeit to the detriment of the taxpayer.
The company has recieved numerous loans and grants from DCED through multiple programs such as Opportunity Grants and Job Creation Tax Credits. This year Governor Rendell promised $15 millionin capital assistance to upgrade the York County facility.
Harley Davidson, meanwhile, luxuriates in their ability to leverage the Governor and eventually the taxpayer for more funds. The company, has threatened time and time again to move to another state or to cut jobs. Most recently, they have done both at the same time. The company has said it will cut 1,000 jobs if they are going to remain in York County. The state of Kentucky, though called a special legislative session for setting Harley-Davidson incentives – to which Harley has responded with special interest.
The Commonwealth Foundation has reiterated the need for Governor Rendell and the state to stop doling out taxpayer money to their favored companies and industries, and to address the core problems of our business climate, which apply to Harley and every other business in PA.
Unionism has crippled the company, as Pennsylvania does not have any right-to-work laws. Compulsory unionism is also driving jobs to other states (such as Kentucky, which has right-to-work laws). If the Governor wants jobs to remain in the state he must stop catering to unions which accounts for only 15 percent of the state’s workers.