Remarks of Governor Haley
Barbour on Announcing Toyota Motor Corporation Assembly Plant
From: Office of the Governor File 2/27/07 GCN
Tupelo, Mississippi - It is my great pleasure to announce today that
Toyota Motor Corporation has decided to locate its next North American
automobile assembly plant at the Wellspring site near Tupelo, Mississippi.
Obviously, we in Mississippi and especially North Mississippi are excited
to have been chosen by Toyota as its partner. Toyota is the world's
premiere auto manufacturer, and our state will be the best partner the
Let me share some specifics with you: Toyota's new plan will initially
employ 2,000 workers when it opens in less than three years; between now
and then some 2,000 construction jobs will have been created; and Toyota
will invest $1.3 billion not including the State's incentives.
The primary reason Toyota selected Tupelo was the quality of the workforce
and the leadership in this community. North Mississippi has a strong,
productive workforce, and the selection of this site is a tribute to those
We're every bit as committed to the success of this facility as Toyota is.
I want to publicly thank the Toyota team not only for choosing Blue
Springs in North Mississippi, but also for the way the company has worked
with us in this process.
Every state wants an assembly plant * because they generate lots of jobs,
pay good wages and benefits, and generate lots of positive economic
spin-off. Because of this competition, incentives for assembly plants are
similar to free agency in baseball * the price keeps going up. We offered
a very competitive incentive package to Nissan 6 years ago * and I thought
we would have to beat that package to get the crown jewel of economic
development * a Toyota assembly plant. Early on, Toyota told us that they
didn't want to engage in an incentive bidding war * and I'm happy to
announce that the state incentive package agreed to by Toyota is about the
same as Nissan even though six years have gone by.
Because Toyota has accepted a lower incentive package, this allows the
State to allocate more incentives to potential suppliers. That way many
towns and counties will benefit from the jobs created by those suppliers *
and we intend to be aggressive in recruiting all of the Toyota suppliers
we can to Mississippi.
As a noteworthy and generous act, Toyota has told us that after the plant
starts up the company will donate $50 million to the schools of Lee,
Pontotoc and Union Counties. These ten annual gifts of $5 million each
will improve already outstanding school systems for the benefit of the
children of Toyota's initial workforce and will also help the workforce of
this facility for many years to come.
We have also agreed a Toyota Nature Preserve will be created adjacent to
the site. Further, when the plant opens in less than three years,
Mississippi's school children will celebrate the occasion by planting
500,000 trees on what will become Toyota Arbor Day in our State.
We are grateful that the company recognizes the important roles our
universities, especially Ole Miss, and our community colleges will play in
helping make this plant and its workers the most productive Toyota has in
North America. A major part of the incentives will actually go to our
community colleges and universities.
I want to thank Toyota, its top leadership in Japan, its leaders in North
America, including its president, Mr. Sudo, who is with us here in Tupelo;
Gary Convis and Ray Tanguay, who you will hear from in a moment; Jim
Press, who is joining us from Washington; and the team that worked on this
site selection. Thank you for recognizing the quality of our workers, the
commitment of this community, the excellence of our schools and our
quality of life. Thank you for seeing how bright Mississippi's future is
and for Toyota deciding to become part of that bright future.
Toyota's selection of Wellspring results from the efforts of and answers
the prayers of many Northeast Mississippi leaders who realized our
furniture industry in this area employs fewer people today than ten years
ago, and even a healthy furniture industry will employ fewer people in the
years to come. My administration and the State got that message, and this
great Toyota project gives us a spectacular way to replace those good
furniture jobs with superior, better paying jobs in the auto industry.
This situation was also key to why Toyota knew such a strong workforce
will be available to it and its suppliers.
Many Mississippians deserve enormous credit for our winning this
competition: Gray Swoope and his great team at the Mississippi
Development Authority; the PUL Alliance, quarterbacked by David Rumbarger
at CDF, a true professional who did outstanding work on this project, as
he always does; the farsighted local officials of Pontotoc, Union and Lee
Counties and the community leaders in CDF and other hard-working
organizations who conceived Wellspring; Chancellor Robert Khayat from the
University and Dr. David Cole from Itawamba Community College * our
community college and university systems were huge assets in our being
selected; Randy Kelly and the Three Rivers Planning and Development
District; Glenn McCullough and Aubrey Patterson.
I am delighted to salute Lt. Governor Amy Tuck and House Speaker Billy
McCoy, who have been my confidants and super supporters of Wellspring and
our attracting Toyota to North Mississippi. In the next few days they
will be leading this effort in the Legislature.
Indispensable to our success has been our State's exceptional
Congressional delegation: Senator Trent Lott and your outstanding
Congressman Roger Wicker are both with us, and Senator Thad Cochran joins
us by satellite from Washington. Before introducing them, I want to
publicly thank each of them. This wouldn't have happened without them.
Toyota Will Build New Manufacturing Plant in Mississippi - GCN