D.J. McGuire’s statement on Fredericksburg GM Powertrain plant’s closure.

For those that are unaware, fellow blogger D.J. McGuire (aka The right-wing liberal) is on his way to victory in his campaign for the Lee Hill Supervisor seat in Spotsylvania County. I also did a post awhile back detailing why he’s the best candidate for the district regardless of whoever decides to run against him.

He had the following statement regarding the recent announcement that the Fredericksburg (technically, Spotsylvania County) GM Powertrain factory would be closing:

D.J. McGuire, Republican nominee for the Lee Hill Supervisor, released this statement in reaction to the announced closing of GM’s Powertrain plant on Tidewater Trail.

Like many other Spotsylvanians, I was disappointed by the news of the closing of General Motors’ Powertrain plant. I see the plant every day on my way home from work, and it has been a symbol of the county’s openness to success in industry and prosperity for its citizens. I am sad to see its apparent demise. Just three years ago, GM was investing more capital into the Powertrain factory, so this action also comes as a surprise. Given GM’s current status, I hope and expect that both the company and the Obama Administration will be very open about the reasoning behind this decision.

Of course, GM is in need of serious adjustment, and no one can be certain what action, if any, the county could have taken that would have led to a different outcome. However, this is a good time for Spotsylvania to reflect on its recent actions, which certainly didn’t improve the outlook for business in general or the Tidewater Trail plant in particular.

Since GM’s last infusion of capital into the Powertrain plant, property taxes were raised 11% (on average); the personal property tax rate was raised more than 25%; and the business furniture/fixture tax rate was raised 19%. While avoidance of these recession-aggravating measures may not have saved Powertrain, at the very least it would have reduced the risk and the cost to GM for keeping it open – and would certainly do the same for future users of that space. Moreover, if (however unlikely the possibility) the plant was closed for more political reasons, the aforementioned tax increases could very well provide Washington with some of the justification it would use to claim otherwise. It certainly won’t help the future users of that plant, or any other businesses struggling to get through this recession here in Spotsylvania.

In any event, it is time for Spotsylvania to recognize its place in the national and global community, and to acknowledge that it cannot over-tax, over-spend, and over-regulate in a vacuum. That is why, should I be elected Lee Hill Supervisor this November, I will:

  • Refuse to support any real estate tax rate above equalization
  • Keep a close eye on county spending to avoid future tax increases and where possible allow for reductions in tax rates, be it for real estate, BPOL, furniture/fixtures, machinery/tools, heavy equipment, personal property, etc.
  • Work with my fellow Supervisors and the Planning Commission to scale back (and, if possible, repeal) the recently imposed commercial design standards (a.k.a. the “HCOD design standards”) as soon as practicable

The GM Powertrain plant may stay open until late next year. I cannot say whether or not the above plans will save it – and truth be told, it would not be sensible to bend county policy simply to aid one employer. However, we can (and I believe we must) use this as a wake-up call to make Spotsylvania a friendlier county for established and rising businesses – including the business that is and/or will be at 11032 Tidewater Trail.

For more information, contact D.J. at dj@djmcguire.com

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