MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Mayor Wharton says he doesn't like it, but the only way to get a lot of companies to bring jobs to Memphis is to give them every type of break possible. Last year several new companies said they were coming to Memphis, bringing more than one billion dollars in investments and 3,700 new jobs.
Wharton says it's all about the jobs.
Time changes things. The company that built the planes that bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 will soon be making electric generators in Memphis. It's been more than seventy years after all, and like I said, time changes things.
So do jobs. The Mitsubishi company is just one of the big investments going on here.
"Folks, we're making progress. We're making progress here," Wharton said.
It's been an interesting year. You've got Mitsubishi, and you've got the Electrolux plant just down the street. Take these companies, toss in a few more, add about 3,700 new jobs, and you've got more than a billion bucks in economic development - well worth all the things the city gives away to get a company, according to Mayor Wharton.
"It's a part of the process. I wish it were otherwise, but we live in a new world, and to compete in a new world that's the state of the business. We've got to pay to play."
However, it's not a one way street. Electrolux is promising to bring in more minority contractors. Nothing in writing, but so far they've spent more than $6 million in business to companies owned by women and minorities. That gets a thumbs-up from the people at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, with a little friendly advice from chamber member John Moore.
"We expect them to meet all of their written and verbal commitments, every single one of them."