The next time some moron talks to me about the free market . . .
12. Public Hearing to Consider Allocating Economic Development Investment Funds to Cree
The Board is requested to hold a public hearing to consider allocating economic development investment funds to Cree, a leading developer and manufacturer of LED lighting, and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications. Cree’s products are used in backlighting for electronics and vehicles, general illumination, electronic signs and signals, variable speed motors and wireless communications. The company is dedicated to designing and producing products which are energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Cree, a homegrown Durham company since 1987, operates in a highly competitive global market driven by rapidly changing technology, short product life and a competitive pricing environment. Currently Cree is evaluating a substantial investment in a new production line to launch a new generation LED chip. Cree is considering several locations for the project, including China, Malaysia, and Durham. The capital investment for this project is expected to be approximately $392 million, with $135 million dedicated to machinery for the new production line. Cree would also create 244 new jobs in Durham by the end of 2013 to operate the production center. Company officials have stated that incentives from the local government are a key consideration in its final decision on locating the expansion, particularly in light of the cost of labor in the overseas market.
Staff is recommending that the county participate in this economic development project by providing up to two million ($2,000,000.00) for the $392 million project. Eight hundred and twenty five thousand ($825,000) of those funds would be reserved to pay for training expenses of new employees hired who are Durham residents. Funds would be furnished over a seven year period through an economic development incentive fund performance contract.
This public hearing was advertised on Friday, September 3, 2010 as required by law.
One of the other items on tonight's County Commissioners' agenda.
So you got that, right? Cree is holding a proposed $392 M investment project ransom, and threatening to take it overseas, unless they get $2 million from the county.
That's the same Cree, "a homegrown Durham company since 1987," whose owner also owns the 751 South development project, which is going to be bringing new jobs to Durham County Real Soon Now®. funny how the agenda item doesn't mention that connection. I suppose that's because it's impartial.
Thanks, bud. Maybe if we spent that 2 million on our public schools, you wouldn't need to retrain new hires who are Durham residents?
UPDATE: Cree doesn't even need the money.
Cree has been consistently profitable and is sitting on nearly $1 billion cash. The company plans to use the money for expansion, hiring and research, and plans to spend more than $250 million this year on factories and equipment in Durham and China.