No strings attached to AA money?


A disturbing quote from County Commission chairman Wilbert Collins in Saturday's Whirled (continued here):

Tulsa County voters approved $22.3 million in incentives for American that will be used for capital improvements, tooling, equipment and inventory.

Prior to the Sept. 9 vote on the $885 million Vision 2025 package, County Commissioner Bob Dick had said he would not support giving the airline money only to have it leave Tulsa later. Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune said the funding would come with "big strings" attached, those being job retention and growth, [Carmine] Romano said. [Romano is AA's Tulsa vice president of base maintenance.]

"That's the whole intention of the 2025 vision, to provide employment here, and I'm dedicated to that," said Romano.

While American announced it will keep its maintenance facility in Tulsa and add new work, Collins said the county could not force it to follow through on those plans.

"We can't make any demands on American. We can talk about what we'd like to see, but we can't make any demands on that corporation," he said.

At the moment, the county is having an attorney (county fair board member Jim Orbison) work on an agreement between the County and American Airlines, prior to the airline receiving county tax funds. I hope the County will make demands of American before they hand over the $22.3 million.

Carmine Romano has said he'd be willing to sign an agreement. We should take him up on the offer. The time to insist on terms is before Tulsa County hands over the money. Otherwise we may find ourselves in the same position as Wetumka, Oklahoma, which raised money to bring a circus to town, only to have the promoter run off with the cash. Ever since the good people of Wetumka have commemorated their credulity with a "Sucker Day" celebration. Let's hope we don't follow in their footsteps.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 27, 2003 1:12 AM.

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