In the Nov. 20 article, “Groundbreaking: GE Aviation Comes To Asheville,” I was shocked to read that poor, broke Buncombe County and poor, broke Asheville were contributing so much cash to this private sector project. I understand that you have to spend money to make money, but where exactly is the return on investment here?
According to the money count listed in the article, nearly $20 million ($19.88 million) is being given to GE to get this plant to come to Asheville. And this offering will create only 50 new jobs. If you do the math, that’s a $400,000 cost for each one of these 50 jobs. Wow, that seems a bit meaty to me. Has someone out there calculated the payback period on this investment? And, if so, I would love to know what it is.
— Bill Meller
Xpress reporter Jake Frankel clarifies: In the complex deal, Buncombe County agreed to spend $15.7 million on land acquisition and facility construction, and give the company an additional $2.68 million in cash grants. The city of Asheville approved giving the GE Aviation $1.5 million in tax breaks.