And that's reason to celebrate.
That's reason to celebrate?
VCEDA marks end of second decade bringing jobs to Southwest VirginiaNow, hang on a minute. Either the reporter or this executive director is being too slippery by half.
By Kingsport Times News staff
Lebanon — At the conclusion of two decades as Southwest Virginia’s economic development engine, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority looks back on $117 million in funding for more than 200 regional projects to help bring nearly 12,000 jobs to the region.
“In these 20 years VCEDA has had a hand in helping to bring more than $2 billion in announced investments to the region, including new opportunities in information technology, manufacturing, energy and other basic job-creating operations,” Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director, told the board of directors during the board’s most recent meeting in Lebanon.
Belcher outlined economic development highlights for each of the seven coal-producing counties of Virginia, including the 3,000-acre Southern Gap Business Park in Buchanan County due for a ribbon cutting later this year for its first business occupant. That occupant is information technology support center Sykes Enterprises — operator of a similar facility in Wise County — which will bring 400 jobs to the region.** [link]
"VCEDA has had a hand in helping to bring more than $2 billion in announced investments to the region"? What the heck are "announced" investments? Are they remotely linked to actual investments? Or is somebody just massaging somebody here?
Will the Citgo in Bland take "announced" currency in exchange for real Bud?
I am hereby announcing my wish to invest one trillion dollars in the Southwest Virginia economy. Starting with a trip to the Bland Dairy Queen.
That takes us to $1,002,000,000,000 in "announced" investments.
Time for another celebration?
And if we are lumping "announced" investments in as part of that $2 billion, any bets on whether those 400 announced new jobs at Sykes Enterprises are included in that "12,000 new jobs" number?
Earth to reporter: What's the actual number of new jobs those 200 "projects" brought to the area?
Better yet, how about furnishing me with a list of those 200 projects and I'll tally the actual payroll numbers myself?
But I'll warn you of four rules I'll establish:
1) "Announced" doesn't get it.
2) Jobs that were created and then just as quickly disappeared won't be counted.***
3) Part-time, low-wage, no-benefit call center jobs won't be counted either.***
4) I'll not include any jobs that are simply being "churned." From the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority 2007 Annual Report:
Two manufacturers announced plans to locate in existing facilities formerly occupied by other businesses. Pinnacle Wood Products of Virginia, Inc.* is operating in the former Buster Brown Apparel building in Wise County and plans to create more than 200 jobs in the next three years. Rogers Foam Corporation, a Massachusetts company that makes engineered foam products, located in Scott County in a building formerly occupied by Mid-Atlantic Paper Company.****I won't count the planned 200 jobs. But I'll darn sure include those lost when Mid-Atlantic Paper Company and Buster Brown Apparel closed their doors. Those are real numbers involving real people.
That should put the number of net new jobs created at around 16.
But I'm only guessing. As seems to be the method of operation in these matters.
But this isn't a guess: $117 million. That, friends, is a good, hard number.
The only hard number to be found in this exercise in mental masturbation.
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* So you know, VCEDA assisted Pinnacle Wood Products with taxpayer dollars - to the tune of $1.2 million - some time ago. When last we heard, the company was employing 15 people.
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** Sykes Enterprises is a call center.
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*** Travelocity was supported by VCEDA back in 2001 in the amount of $250,000. It went along with $1.2 million that VCEDA invested in a child care center in Dickenson County for the kids of Travelocity employees.
Number of "announced" jobs? 300.
Number of actual Southwest Virginians in its employ? 0.
It closed in 2004.
Nexus Communications came to Dickenson County with an announcement that 550 jobs would be created. There were actually 188 employees there in 2000, when it closed its doors forever.
"Announced" jobs: 550
Actual jobs: 0
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**** I would humbly suggest that the Kingsport Times News download the latest version of something called "Google" for its reporters to take advantage of. In doing so, said reporters wouldn't be led around by the nose by government officials and hangers-on who get paid to fax crap like this news of celebration out to unwitting news people who take it at face value and regurgitate it for their subscribers' viewing pleasure. (Making themselves look like idiots in the process.)