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Asa Hutchinson Proposes $87M Bond Package for Lockheed Martin
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is proposing issuing $87 million in bonds to help Lockheed Martin land a defense contract for its Camden facility. Hutchinson on Thursday said the bond package going before the Legislature during next week's special legislative session calls for most of that money to go toward improvements at Lockheed Martin's plant in Camden, with some money going toward a job training program associated with the project. Lockheed Martin is competing for a contract to manufacture a light tactical vehicle that will replace the Humvee. The special session is set to begin on Tuesday. Arkansas Business
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Charlotte has ‘biggest stake’ in trade deal, expert says
Charlotte is among the U.S. cities that stand to benefit the most from a proposed yet controversial trade agreement between the U.S. and European Union, an expert said Wednesday. Daniel Hamilton, professor at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, spoke about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership during an event at the Duke Energy Center in uptown Charlotte. The agreement, which is being negotiated by U.S. and European officials, is expected to make it easier for U.S. and European companies to trade and invest across the Atlantic. Charlotte has “the biggest stake” in the talks’ outcome, said Hamilton, who spoke at a meeting of the Global Vision Leaders Group. Charlotte Observer
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Colossal developments prompt Texas to reconsider how school tax breaks are issued
Officials with Houston energy company Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) were on hand at the Texas Capitol May 19 to support a House bill set to simplify the qualification of companies for school district tax breaks. House Bill 2826, authored by Reps. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, and Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, would adjust the requirements for Chapter 313 tax abatements. These school district tax abatements are some of the few that the state supports. The House bill would allow applicants to combine a larger project’s value rather than qualify separate applications with individual school districts. Tax consultant James LeBas, who spoke on behalf of the Texas Oil & Gas Association and the Texas Association of Manufacturers, said lawmakers never envisioned projects on the scope of those being built by the oil and gas industry when crafting the bill. Houston Business Journal
Submitted yesterday

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Texas LNG, crude oil export resolutions now headed to governor's desk
Resolutions asking for Congress to lift the ban to export crude oil and to expedite the permitting process to build liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals along the Texas Gulf Coast are now headed to the governor's office for signature. The Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously on May 19 to approve Senate Concurrent Resolution 32. Originally filed by Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, SCR 32 urges Congress to expedite the natural gas exports process. Senate Concurrent Resolution 13, which urges Congress to lift the crude oil export ban, passed the House in a 142-1 vote with Rep. Dale Phelan, R-Beaumont, casting the only ballot against it. Houston Business Journal
Submitted yesterday

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Court calls Winston-Salem-based BB&T tax shelter 'simply a money machine
BB&T Corp. could miss out on hundreds of millions in tax rebates following a recent ruling by a federal appeals court that called an earlier transaction with U.K.-based Barclays Plc "simply a money machine" without an economic purpose. At issue is the use of what's known as a Structured Trust Advantaged Repackaged Securities (STARS) transaction that was in place from 2002 and 2007 between BB&T (NYSE: BBT) and Barclays. BB&T had used the STARS deal to lower its tax bill via foreign tax credits before the Internal Revenue Service disallowed tax credits to the tune of $498.2 million during the five-year period. Triad Business Journal
Submitted yesterday

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In N.C. incentives debate, Skvarla responds to Rucho
N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla wants to clarify a few things. As debate continues over the state’s latest whiff in recruiting an auto plant — Volvo choosing South Carolina over North Carolina and other suitors — a blame game has caught fire. This week, state Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), co-chair of the Senate's finance committee, told me during a wide-ranging interview that Skvarla unfairly, and incorrectly, blamed the legislature for losing Volvo. More broadly speaking, Republican elected officials in North Carolina have split on the importance of economic-development incentives and how such programs are structured. Charlotte Business Journal
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Charlotte-based Bank of America pinched as feds hand down $5.8B in fines for currency schemes
Six of the world's biggest financial institutions were slapped with penalties totaling roughly $5.8 billion on Wednesday, and Charlotte's Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) did not go unscathed. Bloomberg reports the fines, handed down separately by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Reserve, are tied to allegations that the banks were involved in rigging foreign currency exchange rates. Four of the banks — Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, while UBS Group agreed to plead guilty to a wire-fraud charge related in manipulation of interest rates, according to the news service. Charlotte Business Journal
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Alabama created 18K jobs, $3B capital investment in 2014
Alabama economic development projects produced 18,000 jobs and $3.4 billion in investments during 2014, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. The department unveiled the state's totals today in a report that detailed 70 new-to-Alabama companies that created 5,961 jobs and 322 corporate expansions that resulted in 12,176 new jobs for the state. Metro Birmingham accounted for 3,011 of the approximately 18,000 jobs and $370 million in capital investments. Birmingham Business Journal
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Birmingham named one of America's underrated food cities
Birmingham has made another food list. As the Magic City continues to raise its culinary clout across the country, more food critics are taking notice of the Magic City's food scene, as ThrillList becomes the latest to add Birmingham to its menu of foodie cities. ThrillList named Birmingham one of the seven underrated American food cities this week. Bourbon & Bacon author Morgan Murphy offered local insight into why Birmingham has risen in the ranks of American food cities in the past three decades. Birmingham Business Journal
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Texas set to cut its most despised business tax
The final resolution to cut the much-maligned Texas franchise tax fell into place Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee — and it could result in Texas companies saving billions each year in taxes. Texas' business franchise tax, sometimes called the margins tax, was created in 2006 to help pay for a property tax cut. Companies with revenue above $1 million pay the tax on gross receipts, leading to some paying it when they make little or no profit. But the bill just passed out of the finance committee, House Bill 32, would provide a 25 percent across-the-board franchise tax cut to business. Austin Business Journal
Submitted yesterday

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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Urban areas have all kinds of assets that are easy to spot. They have the population, so the labor shed is not usually an issue. Urban areas are also connected by better roads, rail and air service and many have river and deep water ports. Usually Internet access and other forms of communication are more efficient in urban areas. And you have a larger array of quality of life options to choose from, such as the cultural assets found in metropolitan areas.
 

 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     
After I finished the cover story for this issue, I read an interesting article by economist Paul Krugman, the op-ed columnist for the New York Times, titled, "Partying like it’s 1995." Generally I side with Krugman, even though I am a journalist, not an economist. Occasionally, though, I read some of his stuff and ask myself, "What planet did Krugman come from?" Like when he predicted a shift of automotive assembly to Canada after Toyota announced a new plant in Woodstock, Ontario in 2005 because of "free healthcare," among other benefits. That Toyota deal was the last major automotive assembly plant announced in Canada and I predict it will be the very last one for the Canadians.
 
 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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