Goodyear Seeks Aid From Kansas, Warns Jobs Could be in Jeopardy - Tire Review Magazine

Goodyear Seeks Aid From Kansas, Warns Jobs Could be in Jeopardy

(Kansas City Star) Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has told Kansas legislators it needs nearly $38 million in state aid, and up to 700 jobs could be at stake.

Company officials say Goodyear needs to upgrade equipment at its Topeka plant or face cutting its work force. Its officials said the company would commit to a $250 million upgrade if the state provided incentives.

Goodyear is proposing that the state issue 20-year bonds, paid back with payroll taxes collected from company employees.

The Senate Commerce Committee reviewed the proposal Tuesday but took no action. The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee had a hearing Monday.

The proposal has bipartisan support from members of Topeka’s legislative delegation and the backing of local business and union groups. Goodyear’s Topeka plant employs about 1,600 people.

“We’re keeping jobs,” said Rep. Lana Gordon, a Topeka Republican and the House committee’s chairwoman.

It would be the second time in less than a decade that Goodyear has sought state incentives for its Topeka plant. In 2002, legislators approved $10 million in incentives, and the company invested an additional $124 million.

Tim Davis, the manager of the Topeka plant, said new equipment would support the production of massive off-road tires. He said Goodyear was the only American company making them (In fact, Titan International, also an American company, produces giant OTR tires in the U.S.).

Goodyear hopes its proposal will be added to a bill that would provide similar incentives to Kansas companies that make wind- and solar-energy equipment. But some supporters of the bill are nervous.

James Gregory, a consultant for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, said he worried that amending the bill will jeopardize its chances of passing, but he added, “We don’t want to stand in the way of Topeka’s bill.” (Tire Review/Akron)

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