Major metal companies and metal-consuming manufacturers,
particularly stampers and fabricators, have consistently
received economic incentives from state and local governments,
and often pit one against the other for the best deal.
Some of the projects will reach fruition if both sides hold
to the long-term view that global steel demand will grow during
the next decade and beyond.
A short list of plans announced by metal producers during
2008, including efforts by state and local governments to help
those plans succeed, shows foreign investment to be quite
significant. "From Russia with Love" could be the theme of the
first two project announcements.
•?OAO Severstal, Cherepovets, Russia, is looking to
invest up to $1 billion in its U.S. operations over the next
several years, and executives at its Dearborn, Mich., mill are
aggressively attempting to attract public funding. The Dearborn
plant, formerly Rouge Steel Co., is one of several Severstal
facilities being eyed for the investment, and Dearborn City
Council is considering an economic incentive package aimed at
attracting that $1 billion. The city and state have said they
intend to move quickly to beat potential offers from other
•?Ohio took two big strides forward last May in landing
a $1-billion steel plant planned for North America by Russia's
OAO Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK). The Ohio
Department of Development cleared two grants totaling more than
$4 million aimed at helping MMK build the
1.9-million-square-foot plant in Scioto County in southern
Ohio, although sites in Arkansas, Kentucky and Quebec also are
under consideration. The plant, expected to cost between $650
million and $1 billion, could create at least 528 jobs,
according to the company.
•?Sweden's Svenskt Stal AB (SSAB), Stockholm, in August
revealed plans to expand quenched and tempered steel production
in the United States. Two months later, after reviewing
financial incentive packages proffered by state and local
governments, SSAB announced that it would build the new
heat-treating facility at its carbon steel plate mill in
Mobile, Ala., creating about 120 jobs, rather than at its other
carbon steel plate mill in Montpelier, Iowa.
•?ArcelorMittal SA, Luxembourg, and Nippon Steel Corp.,
Tokyo, have agreed to invest $240 million to double galvanizing
capacity at their joint-venture I/N Kote LLP operation in New
Carlisle, Ind. The partners expect to complete the facility in
late 2010. The plan was spurred by the city's tax abatement
package, plus state tax credits and state grants for job
training assistance, all designed to lure 100 new jobs.
•?Kaiser Aluminum Corp. expects to begin production in
late 2009 at its Kalamazoo, Mich., remelt/extrusion facility,
creating more than 300 jobs. It is investing more than $80
million in the foundry operation, which will produce components
for the domestic automotive market. Kaiser has received a
$3.7-million tax credit from the Michigan Economic Growth
Authority, $280,000 in employee-recruitment and job-training
assistance from Michigan Works and a $100,000 economic
development job-training grant from the township and Kalamazoo
•?Republic Special Metals Inc. plans to build a
$60-million to $70-million manufacturing facility in North
Jackson, Ohio, following a Mahoning (Ohio) County Commission
vote that approved a 15-year real estate tax abatement for the
company. The plant will initially create 50 to 60 jobs with an
average annual salary of $50,000, according to Anthony T.
Traficanti, chairman of the county commissioners, citing
information from Republic.
One of the most vociferous proponents of programs to promote
job creation is Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who in an
October radio address cited the challenges affecting the
national economy, but stated "We have not slowed down efforts
to diversify this economy and to create jobs in Michigan.
Despite (the) uncertainty here in Michigan, we will continue to
be aggressive in our pursuit of every job and every company
because we know that with the targeted plan to diversify this
economy we can emerge from this time of challenge stronger than
She cited a new $30-million round of funding approved
through the state's 21st Century Jobs Fund, which will help
attract alternative energy companies as well as the traditional
automotive sector to build or expand in Michigan.
The state of Ohio is so eager to attract investment that it
has moved economic development up to the cabinet level. Gov.
Ted Strickland in October signed an executive order that
establishes the Ohio Economic Growth Cabinet, a subdivision of
the governor's cabinet that will focus on creating jobs and
increasing economic growth opportunities in Ohio.
"There is no greater priority for my administration than
creating jobs and getting our economy moving again," he
The new cabinet will help ensure that all state government
partners work together to advance and promote Ohio's economic
growth. The cabinet will promote a comprehensive approach to
business needs; develop a unified economic development budget
designed to increase transparency for residents about the
state's development; and monitor the progress of statewide
development, with specific measures and performance