The 20,000-square-foot facility, to be operated by A-B Tech, would “provide a pipeline of skilled workers prior to the plant opening, helping to recruit qualified candidates and pre-train and post-train employees.” The funding would come from future county bonds that would be repaid through local sales tax revenues.
Buncombe County would become the first local government in Western North Carolina to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance. Orange County and several municipalities have approved similar language after a statewide ban on such ordinances expired Dec. 1.
As of December 2020, there were 21,391 unique job postings in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties. But many of the available jobs require higher levels of education or training than those currently unemployed possess.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and other supporters say jobs at the aerospace manufacturing plant will provide opportunities for workers to improve their standards of living. Critics say those wages are not worth the moral cost: Bolstering a military-industrial complex that causes deaths half a world away and eats up government funds better spent on other needs.
No Buncombe County commissioners addressed why the subsidy was necessary for the company to make its investment during their Nov. 17 meeting. P&W is a division of Raytheon Technologies, a Fortune 50 company with approximately $10 billion in cash reserves.
Under a proposed economic development incentive agreement, Buncombe County taxpayers would subsidize the division of military contractor Raytheon Technologies, which made over $77 billion last fiscal year, to the tune of $27 million.