AVON LAKE, Ohio - You always hear about jobs leaving the United States for Mexico or other countries, but Tuesday we heard just the opposite. Ford Motor Company announced that it will take jobs from Mexico and put them in Northeast Ohio.
Workers are guaranteed to earn a steady paycheck with Ford making a $128 million investment in the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, after the state approved an incentive package valued at $15 million. Ford will get a $1 million tax break for the next 15 years.
Gov. John Kasich said the money will be recouped within a year with higher tax collections.
"When people ask for the moon, the stars and the sky it doesn't benefit the people of the state we don't do it. But this is a really good agreement that we reached and frankly I'm really pleased about it," he said during an appearance at the plant.
So are the legions of workers. The move is expected to save nearly 2,000 jobs. It's good news for guys like Merle Mitchell, who has worked at the plant for 19 years.
"You hear the rumors. You're on, you're off. Now it's official. Let's get down to business, we know what to do," Mitchell said.
Ford plans to phase out Avon Lake production of the Econoline van in 2013 and shift to medium-duty truck production. As part of the agreement, Ford agrees to keep the plant running for at least 18 years. But if the company does shut down the plant, the state can demand repayment of the tax dollars.
The governor said this a much needed economic boost in the arm for Northeast Ohio, one that he hopes will take us down the road to prosperity.
"We were in a deep, deep ditch in this state. We lost 400,000 jobs in the last four years. We lost more jobs in the last 10 years than any other state in America except Michigan and California. But I really think the sun is starting to shine in Ohio," said Gov. Kasich.
Gov. Kasich was also asked about the chances of Sears moving to Ohio from Chicago. He said he did make the company an offer, but he said he feels Sears is using that offer as a bargaining chip to get more out of Illinois.