‘Shocking.’ Kansas secures no jobs or pay commitments in Panasonic’s $4B battery plant

July 25, 2022

The Kansas City Star: ‘Shocking.’ Kansas secures no jobs or pay commitments in Panasonic’s $4B battery plant

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“There’s no question that the numbers were significant when Panasonic announced it would invest some $4 billion and create 4,000 jobs at a new battery plant in De Soto.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said the investment was the largest in state history. And if Panasonic were to hire 4,000 workers, it would become one of the largest employers in the Kansas City metro area.

But that’s a big if.

The state’s agreement with Panasonic doesn’t require the company to create 4,000 jobs — or any jobs at all. Nor does it create minimum wage or salary standards for the firm — a crucial component of many economic development packages.

Experts say those are two glaring omissions in the Panasonic deal, which was shrouded in secrecy since Kelly pushed the Legislature to craft a new incentive program (APEX) specifically for Panasonic, though it may be used for other projects in the future…

‘If the deal has no job quality requirements, then you’re really flying in the dark about your cost-benefit analysis,’ said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, which tracks corporate subsidies across the country. ‘A great deal rides upon the quality of the paychecks because they are going to determine how good the downstream ripple effects are.’ ”

Read the full story at The Kansas City Star.