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That's The Randle Report for August 27, 2014
Join us again tomorrow morning for all of the American South's business, economic development and political news in real time and in one place. Use the sort buttons or the search window above to find your favorite stories from yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Click on the headline to access Southern Business & Development magazine.
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The Federal Debt: All You Need to Know in Three Minutes


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Florida smackdown: Why Crist vs. Scott is marquee governor's race of 2014
WASHINGTON — The marquee governor’s race of 2014 is on: Florida’s former Republican governor, Charlie Crist – now a Democrat – will face its current Republican governor, Rick Scott, in November. The outcome of Tuesday’s primary was never in doubt. Mr. Crist beat former state Sen. Nan Rich (D), 74 percent to 26 percent. Governor Scott beat two little-known candidates with nearly 88 percent of his party’s vote. Still, the turnout numbers hint at trouble for Crist. Republican turnout was higher by more than 100,000 votes, in a state with more Democrats than Republicans. “A lot of the disaffected are longtime progressive Democrats, who do not really believe in the metamorphosis of Crist,” says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida, Tampa. “The second group is older women who are disgusted with the fact that Crist never had the courtesy to debate Nan Rich, who is a longtime, loyal, Democratic woman senator.” Christian Science Monitor
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Jindal Sues Obama Administration Over Common Core
BATON ROUGE, La.—Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt educational standards known as the Common Core. The legal challenge puts Mr. Jindal, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, at the forefront of a dispute between conservatives and President Barack Obama, bolstering the governor's profile on the issue as he is trying to court conservative voters nationwide. The Common Core standards, designed to improve schools and student competitiveness, are reviled by staunch conservatives who say they reflect federal intrusion into the classrooms. The backlash has prompted several high-profile Republicans to distance themselves from the standards. The Wall Street Journal
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Is Texas still a threat to land Tesla’s gigafactory?
Although Tesla Motors has already started work on at least one potential site, Texas is still “very much in the hunt” to land the company’s coveted battery manufacturing plant, an industry expert says. Tesla Motors’ plan to build the battery “gigafactory” has set off fierce competition for the country’s biggest economic development prize in years. As the five states under consideration intensify efforts to land the factory and its 6,500 jobs, speculation about who holds the lead is rampant and changes by the day. Tesla acknowledged last month it already has broken ground on a potential site in Reno, Nev., where crews have excavated earth for construction. But while Tesla has paid for the work in Reno, the company says it continues to evaluate sites in Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico. Austin American-Statesman
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GM to build Cadillac SRX, add engine in Spring Hill
GM confirmed Wednesday that the next-generation Cadillac SRX will be produced at the GM plant in Spring Hill. The Cadillac SRX is scheduled to begin production late next year and come to market as a 2016 model. GM announced last August that it would spend a total of $350 million and create or retain at least 1,800 jobs at Spring Hill to support expansion of the once-shuttered vehicle assembly line, adding two new midsize vehicles. Those vehicles for Spring Hill were included in negotiations with the UAW for a new contract in summer 2011. This is the first of the planned vehicle announcements. In addition, the company announced it will invest $185 million to make small gas engines at its Spring Hill manufacturing complex, retaining 390 jobs. The Tennessean
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Ford has added 300 employees at Louisville assembly plant
Ford Motor Co. has added 300 new employees and invested $129 million in Louisville to build the 2015 Lincoln MKC. The announcement was made Monday afternoon at the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road. Some 4,700 workers now produce Escapes and the new Lincoln at the plant, which has been retooled to allow for flexibility to switch products without the usual down time. The compact luxury crossover is expected to compete with better known small SUV's built by BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz and other manufacturers. Louisville Courier-Journal
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Texas continues to lead in oil sector job growth
Texas has surpassed 300,000 jobs in the oil and natural gas sector as the energy boom drives job growth for a fourth straight year. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas gained more than 20,000 oil and gas jobs since July 2013, its largest increase since April 2013. New drilling techniques have opened up vast reserves in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale region and starting salaries on rig crews can start around $70,000 a year, according to Houston-based Taylor Consulting Inc. In an effort to capitalize on this growth, Taylor’s real estate division, Third Avenue Development, has acquired a number of real estate properties in West Texas, including a 64-lot bulk purchase near the Clint Shale formation that can be used for temporary housing, public infrastructure or entertainment amenities. San Antonio Business Journal
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Wal-Mart grant will help Sanford, N.C. company bring manufacturing back
More details are coming out about the Wal-Mart innovation grant awarded to N.C. State University's College of Textiles program last week. It turns out that a Sanford textile operator, Arden Companies, will be one of the direct beneficiaries of the program, set to receive more than $600,000 from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund. According to Sanford city leaders, Arden and the College of Textiles plan to use the grant funds to develop a new digital printing system that could bring Arden's soft goods production back to the United States. Triangle Business Journal
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Non-UAW-affiliated union starting up at Tennessee Volkswagen plant
After months of national attention regarding the drive to unionization by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union at the Volkswagen manufacturing facility in Chattanooga seemed to have died down, another group of employees are forming another union that will include hourly and salaried workers. According to Reuters , Mike Burton, who worked to defeat the UAW's effort six months ago is now leading the effort to form a new union he calls the American Council of Employees. Burton told Reuters he hopes that the American Council of Employees can force another vote to determine which union the hourly employees favor. Memphis Business Journal
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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

The America South is home to almost as many residents as the Northeast and the Midwest combined, but even that statistical record is about to be broken. According to a new Census Bureau study that came out in April, 51 percent of the nation's population jump occurred in the South from 2010 to 2013.
 

 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     
By Mike Randle
There are numerous factors driving the new industrial revolution in the South. And it is a revolution, as this manufacturing surge that began in 2007 continues to break records year after year in the total number of large, capital intensive projects. One factor, of course, is that reshoring of facilities back to the U.S. continues to grow each year.
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean

We try to change up the categories in our annual Ten Top 10s section, but we always include the "Ten People Who Made a Difference" category. This year though, we are honoring 12 and you will learn why by reading about this group of folks who have made a difference in the South. Here is our annual list that includes executives, economic developers and politicians who have made a difference in the South's economy.


 


 

 

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