Anticipated employment level may not
meet the technical requirements of the
Wisconsin statute for job retention or growth
(because you will continue to cut U.S. employees
while expanding in India???)
The Business Journal
By Rich Rovito
Harley-Davidson Inc.’s announcement last week that it is walking away from $25 million in tax credits marks the second time in recent years that the heavyweight motorcycle manufacturer has left millions of dollars from the state on the table.
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson on Nov. 11 advised the Wisconsin Department of Commerce that it would not finalize an agreement under which the state would provide Enterprise Zone tax credits to the company.
The agreement was tied to Harley's much-discussed decision in September to keep production operations in Wisconsin following the ratification of new labor agreements with the company’s rank-and-file workers in the state.
Harley-Davidson also walked away from a state financial package in 2006. State officials had scrambled to put together a $4.5 million tax incentive deal to support a statewide expansion by Harley that was supposed to include 200 new jobs and $300 million in capital investments in its state plants.
Then the economy went sour and the company cut motorcycle production. This eventually led to job cuts and a widespread revamping of Harley’s manufacturing operations.
This time around, Harley-Davidson management insisted all along that government incentives wouldn’t play a part when deciding whether to keep production in the state. Harley threatened to move work from Wisconsin if unionized workers at factories in the Milwaukee area and in Tomahawk did not agree to concessions and work rule changes.
Harley-Davidson management said that it anticipates a reduction in the size of its Wisconsin production work force upon implementation of the new labor agreements in 2012. Although the planned job cuts provided at the time of contract ratification have not changed, the anticipated employment level may not meet the technical requirements of the Wisconsin statute for job retention or growth, company spokesman Bob Klein said late last week.
The tax credits would have been tied to Harley-Davidson’s work force levels, capital investments and purchases from in-state suppliers.
In the end, Harley won’t see a penny of the nearly $30 million the state offered in the two deals.