Letter: A better way to support jobs in Buncombe

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The public explanation for the decision of the Buncombe County commissioners to give tax incentives to Pratt & Whitney was that we need the jobs. There is a better way.

In 2011, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst produced a peer-reviewed report about the comparative effects on job creation between investments in the military-industrial complex, on the one hand, and clean energy, education and health care, on the other.

The report’s conclusion was straightforward and unequivocal: “Investments in clean energy, health care and education create a much larger number of jobs across all pay ranges, including midrange jobs (paying between $32,000 and $64,000) and high-paying jobs (paying over $64,000).”

In 2019, these findings were updated in a report from Brown University titled “War Spending and Lost Opportunities.” Here is its conclusion: “Including both direct and indirect jobs, the military creates 6.9 jobs per $1 million, while the clean energy industry and infrastructure each support 9.8 jobs, health care supports 14.3, and education supports 15.2. So for the same amount of spending, clean energy and infrastructure create 40 percent more jobs than the military, health care creates 100% more, and education 120% more.”

The common understanding that the defense industry is the source of the most and best jobs is false.

We should be giving tax incentives to local sustainable businesses, not to a multinational corporation that relies on fossil fuels and perpetuates a war industry that is the scourge of the world. And which will undoubtedly leave us with an environmental and health mess after it predictably moves on.

— Ken Jones


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

7 thoughts on “Letter: A better way to support jobs in Buncombe

  1. Curious

    What clean energy, health care, or education businesses were available to invest $650 million and create 800 jobs at the site donated by Biltmore Farms?

    • Lou

      Which were invited to do so? This was an almost unilateral decision and it SUCKS.

    • DreadT

      Let’s not forget the 4 lane bridge that will be built over the French Broad River to access this site, paid for by taxpayers. Not really a completely strings free land donation when the taxpayers foot the bill.

      What clean energy, health care, or education businesses were courted to come here as P&W was? I’m guessing NONE.

  2. Local Grandad

    The writer overlooks a few points. From what Mtx has printed, Pratt wages exceed those of even the highest bracket quoted by this study. He also overlooks that some great percentage of the company engines power commercial airplanes. Does the writer fly in those? Lastly he assumes everyone shares his offense at jet engines. I don’t. Nor do the hundreds of residents who will work there and improve their lives through a good job. Welcome Pratt and thanks to our county for the support of our working families.

    • indy499

      Exactly, Grandad. The letter writer is so anxious to make a point he finds some “facts” and tries to squeeze them into this issue.

      Here we have a real case. We know the jobs and salaries. Those two studies don;t apply.

    • Lou

      Good wages for the work of the devil? Seriously, there are so many other industries in which I would have been happy to invest. Another environmentally hazardous manufacturer of plane parts used to perpetuate war and misery? Um, no thank you. Wait, did anyone ask??

      • Jim

        Do you really think the next pretenders to have been elected aren’t going to start another war to enhance the profitability of the war machine? “Come on man”.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.