CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 1,500 people have expressed interest in jobs at the South Charleston stamping plant, and the state has outlined the incentives employer Gestamp will receive.
Last week Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced that Gestamp, a Spanish automotive company, will re-open the plant, investing a minimum of $100 million and eventually creating an estimated 700 jobs. Gestamp North America President John Craig has said the plant will be a primary supplier for Honda and Ford.
On Tuesday WorkForce West Virginia began accepting expressions of interest in "production worker" and "team assembler" jobs on its website, www.wvcommerce.org/business/workforcewv
On Thursday afternoon, the agency said 1,687 jobseekers have enrolled for the positions.
State Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette released an outline of the state incentives Gestamp will receive. It is impossible to quickly calculate the total value of the incentives, but collectively they appear to be worth millions of dollars to the company.
Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said after examining the outline, "The only thing we know for sure is that most of the taxes will be paid by the workers at the plant, instead of Gestamp.
"While intentions behind this deal are noble and while we need to create good-paying manufacturing jobs, state and local policymakers will have virtually no idea whether this deal is cost-effective," he said.
"We've been burned before and it is in everyone's interest that we require an evaluation of this deal in five years to ensure that these incentives are producing the desired results and that they are a good use of the public purse."
Boettner's nonprofit group studies state policies and advocates for government spending to aid low- and moderate-income residents.
The state outline says Gestamp will qualify for:
* The Economic Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a state tax credit as high as 30 percent on property and improvements if at least 520 new jobs are created.
* The Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit, which provides state severance tax, business franchise tax and corporate net income tax relief to companies that purchase property for manufacturing.
* The Manufacturing Property Tax Credit, which provides a credit against the state business franchise tax and the corporate income tax for property tax paid on manufacturing inventory.
* The Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption, which exempts materials and equipment used for construction in the plant from the state's 6 percent sales tax.