Local, state officials meet with Whirlpool

Local state officials meet with Whirlpool
 
Date February 03, 2006
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By PETER HUSSMANN

Editor

City of Newton representatives and officials with the Iowa Department of Economic Development met with Whirlpool officials in Chicago on Thursday to discuss the planned acquisition of the Maytag Corporation.

The meeting, organized by Gov. Tom Vilsack, gave an opportunity for Whirlpool officials to hear the benefits of retaining a presence in Iowa and Newton.

“We are fortunate to be able to talk to Whirlpool officials about Iowa’s business opportunities and our commitment to economic development,” Vilsack said in a prepared statement.

Newton Mayor Chaz Allen, who was accompanied on the trip by Newton Development Corporation Executive Director Kim Didier, said it was a “very positive meeting.”

“We were happy that Whirlpool accepted the governor’s invitation to meet for a listen only meeting to learn about Iowa and the City of Newton’s positive business climate,” Allen said. “This meeting was also a way to begin a relationship that will facilitate the transition if the merger between Maytag and Whirlpool is approved by the Department of Justice.”

The future of the Maytag headquarters and production operations in Newton are uncertain pending closure of the merger. Local and state officials have been working to express to Whirlpool the state’s current business climate and programs designed to help with business retention and expansion opportunities.

Iowa Sen. Dennis Black said he was pleased that the meeting took place. Black, along with Rep. Paul Bell, have introduced resolutions in the Legislature that acknowledge the value of the appliance manufacturing industry in Iowa and urging Whirlpool to retain manufacturing in Iowa.

“The key aspects of Whirlpool’s needs, that Newton and Iowa can readily provide, is a friendly tax climate, a skilled labor force, manufacturing infrastructure, safe and progressive communities, affordable housing and living costs, and a location centered in the U.S. adjacent to rail, air and interstate corridors,” Black said.

The Lynnville lawmaker has also authored legislation to exempt state sales tax on the sale of appliances manufactured and assembled in the state.

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