The fight over a proposed Raytheon plant that would make warplane parts on the French Broad River isn’t over. The closed-door negotiations and rubber-stamping by county commissioners of $27 million of tax subsidies for the war profiteers (after overwhelming opposition by citizens in a last-minute public hearing) is disgraceful.
If this isn’t stopped, we will be subsidizing profits for Pratt & Whitney and Raytheon at the expense of current employees that the company is abandoning. What about environmental and public health damages? After a few people profit richly, we can assume the company will abandon WNC for cheaper labor overseas and leave us holding the bag.
Are voters aware we’re rolling out the red carpet for a corporation cozy with repressive monarchies in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia? P&W has emblazoned their … engines with the slogan “Powering Freedom,” but “Powering Genocide in Yemen” is more like it.
Could we get guarantees that the plant would only make parts for civilian aircraft, instead of warplanes? These weapons could easily be turned against Americans and lead to our area being targeted for attacks.
The fact that employees are being laid off from GE Aviation at Sweeten Creek Industrial Park because of the depressed civilian aircraft industry should make us skeptical about the promised balance of benefits vs. costs. What about worse traffic and decreased quality of life? Will taxpayers get subsidies paid to GE back? Couldn’t we wait for something like a company making turbines for windmills and tidal power or offer incentives to aid sustainable businesses instead?
We can defeat this devil’s bargain. Let’s leave it to residents of areas with existing plants to wean themselves from this blood money and nurture what is unique about our area!
— Roger Ehrlich