Pence fights back against Carrier, UTEC moves to Mexico

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Governor Mike Pence on Monday railed against the plans of Carrier Corp. and United Technologies to move their operations to Mexico, and pledged to investigate whether the state could recover incentives given to the heating and air conditioning manufacturers.

In a statement, Pence said he was “profoundly disappointed” to learn that Carrier and UTEC planned to move to Mexico, taking with them some 2,100 Hoosier jobs. Both Carrier Corp. and UTEC are units of United Technologies Corp.

The governor said neither company told the state they planned to leave before the announcements Feb. 10.

“As governor, I was profoundly disappointed to learn that Carrier Corporation and United Technologies would relocate jobs and operations to Mexico, costing hardworking Hoosiers more than 2,100 jobs,” said Pence. “My heart goes out to all the families and communities that are affected by this news. From the moment our administration learned of this announcement, our Department of Workforce Development reached out to employees of both companies to offer job-seeking, training and education resources.”

Pence said the Indiana Department of Workforce Development has offered immediate “Rapid Response” services to impacted workers like onsite contact with employer and employee union representatives, assessment of worker job function and skills, training to gain new employment and assistance with the application for additional benefits. He urged workers to visit WorkOne for assistance.

Beyond that, though, Pence said he ordered the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to review the incentive contracts previously offered to Carrier and United Technologies, in the hope of recovering taxpayer investments. Such incentives – most often tax credits and training grants – provided by the state to employers are performance-based, so if a company fails to comply with the expansion or job creation commitments, they can be recovered.

In 2013, Carrier Corp. was awarded up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. UTEC was awarded up to $182,500 in training grants in 2010, and up to $300,000 in training grants in 2015.

The state has already de-obligated United Technologies from that $300,000 contract, Pence said.

Pence shifted at least a portion of the blame for Carrier and UTEC’s departure onto the federal government, citing high federal corporate tax rates.

“Indiana’s economy is growing, fostering record employment and investment. Yet, federal corporate tax rates are among the highest in the developed world, and companies throughout the United States must contend with an overall regulatory burden that has seen, since 1997, regulation on manufacturing by the federal EPA increase over 93 percent,” said Pence. “Simply put, the loss of these jobs shows the need for reform in our nation’s capital. My administration will continue to stand by working Hoosiers and advocate for changes in Washington, D.C. that encourage investment and job growth.”

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