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VW's pledge to stay neutral on UAW dealings at Chattanooga plant wins support for incentives
NASHVILLE -- Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said today that Volkswagen officials told him this week the German manufacturer will remain "neutral" in its dealings with the United Auto Workers at its Chattanooga plant. "I think I was assured yesterday that they told me they want to stay neutral. I said, 'OK, that's all I'm going to ask for," Ramsey told reporters. Company officials were at the state Capitol on Wednesday, visiting legislators, including several from Chattanooga who have been highly critical of the UAW's effort to unionize the plant and Volkswagen's reaction. Chattanooga Times Free Press
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Volkswagen moves ahead on expansion at Chattanooga plant
Volkswagen's proposed Chattanooga engineering and planning center has found a temporary home as officials finalize a permanent site and prepare to start hiring more than 200 engineers. The center, a first for the German carmaker in the United States, is designed to bring VW closer to the tastes of American motorists and is part of the plant's $900 million expansion project. The center will be located temporarily in the former Eastside Utility District building off Discovery Drive near the VW plant. Chattanooga Times Free Press
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VF Corp. to open jeanswear innovation center in Greensboro, N.C.
GREENSBORO − VF Corp. will open its Global Jeanswear Innovation Center in the Gateway University Research Center Park later this year. The center will focus on innovation in VF Corp.'s jeanswear brands, which include Wrangler and Lee. The Greensboro-based company plans to hire about 30 people, including chemists and engineers, to work at the center. VF Corp. announced last year that it had hired Sudhakar Puvvada as a vice president to lead the center. The company's space within the Gateway research park is about 8,000 square feet, said Craig Hodges, VF's spokesman. Greensboro News & Record
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Scott Safety plans $29M expansion in Monroe, N.C.
Scott Safety announced Friday it is planning a $28.7 million expansion in Monroe, a move that comes with more than $1 million in local, county and state incentives. The company is a division of Tyco International of Ireland. It makes respiratory protection and other life-safety products for police, military, firefighters and other first responders. Scott Safety also will add 67 jobs over five years to its workforce of 515 people. The financial commitment is one of the 10 biggest in Union County since 1996, said Chris Platé, executive director of Monroe-Union County Economic Development. “We’re very pleased,” he said. “They are growing their talent here and they are a great corporate citizen that benefits us in so many ways.” CharlotteObserver.com
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Legislative preview: Craft breweries may finally get their wishes in Florida
Craft breweries are already having a big year in Tampa Bay. They laughed off a rival's challenge during the Super Bowl and received recognition from industry watchers. Now, the group of artisanal beer-making trashtalkers of majors such as Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (NYSE: BUD), beer-makers who have begun hanging with the entrepreneur crowd, may finally see victory over contentious issues in the legislature. Issues made contentious because where the craft breweries win, the majors like AB lose market share. A bill, CS/SB 186, tries to amend all the laws earning brewer outcry. For one, it allows servers to finally fill the now-banned half-gallon reusable containers of beer, also called growlers. Tampa Bay Business Journal
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Developer Roy Carroll makes $16M bid for the Greensboro News & Record
There doesn't appear to be a "For Sale" sign hanging in the front window of the Greensboro News & Record, but that's not stopping developer Roy Carroll from trying to buy it. Carroll, who entered the media business in 2013 with his purchase of the Greensboro weekly newspaper The Rhino Times, wrote in Thursday's edition of the newspaper that he'd sent an unsolicited $16 million bid for the News & Record to Warren Buffett, the Omaha billionaire who bought the daily two years ago. In the column, Carroll said he came to the decision to make an offer for the paper after considering making the Rhino a daily, but seeing a purchase of the News & Record as a preferable foray into daily journalism. Triad Business Journal
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The Solar Business Now Employs More Americans Than Coal Mining
My colleague Dan Gross has a great piece on Slate about the green energy business' latest coup: Companies like Apple are now buying mass quantities of solar power, as its production costs have fallen far enough in some regions to compete economically with fossil fuels. This, of course, bodes well for the future of renewables; it's one thing when local governments start purchasing solar- or wind-generated electricity as a political gesture; it's a whole other when the private sector jumps on board for the sake of dollars and cents. Slate
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Google Wants To Help You Buy Solar Panels For Your House. Seriously.
If you to want to install solar panels on your roof but haven’t yet because it’s too expensive, Google really wants to help. The search giant, valued at $370 billion, is once again boosting its investment in SolarCity’s residential solar power model by $300 million, both companies announced Thursday. Combined with a new financing structure from SolarCity, the companies say this will result in a new fund worth $750 million to help install distributed rooftop solar on homes across the country. Think Progress
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Energy Lobbies Are Making It Harder to Use Solar Power
Utility companies are leading the effort to reduce the benefits of “net metering”—the practice by which homeowners or businesses earn financial credit for generating electricity with renewable energy technology such as solar panels. Lucas Mearian reports at Computerworld: Truthdig.com
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State Farm agrees to refund $352 million in overcharges to Texas customers
In a long-awaited win for consumers, State Farm Insurance agreed Friday to refund $352.5 million in excessive premiums to its Texas customers to settle a nearly 12-year-old legal battle over the company’s homeowner rates. Dallas Morning News
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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Just look around at what's happening in the aerospace industry in the American South. Aerospace is really making a move to become one of the region's top two industry sectors. It’s not there yet, but if large project counts are any indication, aerospace may soon challenge the petrochemicals sector as the second largest industry in the region. Never before has the aerospace industry been so important to the South's economy. Oh, what's the No. 1 industry sector in the South? Automotive is, of course. That industry hasn't been challenged much for 25 years in this region, or since we’ve been counting.

 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Stacy Randle
Demographer Wendell Cox recently analyzed the largest gains in holders of bachelor's and post-graduate degrees between 2007 and 2012 in the 51 metro regions in the U.S. of 1 million residents or more. The results were published in Forbes magazine and the South dominated the ranking.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
This is our annual "Made in the South" issue and it's timely because there is a new player in the South's manufacturing universe. For almost two decades, economic developers and politicos in the South and the U.S. have been chasing Chinese projects with little or nothing to show. Want proof we've been chasing ghosts in China for years? Okay, go ahead and name a Chinese brand that's made in the South? Tick. . .tick. . .tick. Give up?
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean
If you have ever seen one of my presentations, then you know about the word "reshoring" and how that phenomenon has lifted the spirits of even the most skeptical Southerners regarding the future of the region's economy. After all, in the last four decades, manufacturing has suffered a bloodletting never before seen in U.S. history. The biggest factor behind the slow and long meltdown that began in the 1990s was the herd mentality to offshore manufacturing capacity to cheaper locales, primarily by U.S.-owned companies.
 


 

 

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