County offering 'corporate welfare package' to Continental

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By Mark West

When Continental Tire suspended production at its Charlotte plant and sent those jobs overseas to Brazil and other countries, scores of Lancaster County residents lost their jobs.

This created a tax burden on Lancaster County and an impact on commerce when those folks' disposable income was eliminated. Not only that, soon after the production suspension, Continental Tire implemented terms requiring some of their retirees at one point to pay more than $1,600 for health care.

This certainly devastated some Lancaster County residents. In August of 2007, a federal judge ruled in favor of those retirees on the issue of the much deserved health-care benefits. Continental Tire then appealed this ruling, and is dragging its feet while those retirees suffer unduly.

Now, Continental is asking Lancaster County residents to give them tax incentives for moving its headquarters to Lancaster County. In a news article is the statement, "The Lancaster County Council, will vote on an incentive package that would freeze Continental's property fees at 6 percent in lieu of taxes and would offer a 95 percent property tax rebate the first year and a 65 percent rebate the second year - about $200,000, said Keith Tunnell, president of the Lancaster County Economic Development Corp."

How do Lancaster County residents feel about subsidizing a corporation that already took away thousands of dollars from the county and is continuing to harm their neighbors financially? The affected former employees and retirees of Continental Tire ask Lancaster County Council to do the right thing and reject this corporate welfare package that amounts to a freebee that rewards bad behavior.

It's simply not morally right to reward a corporation that turns its backs on our neighbors.

Mark West

Rock Hill