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Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas Are 2009 Silver Shovel Recipients in the Greater than 10 Million Population Category

Mark Crawford (June/July 09)
Michigan - Michigan is working hard to help businesses take advantage of opportunities in new markets. For example, auto suppliers have recently diversified into the high-tech medical and alternative-energy sectors, two of the state's key growth industries. In 2008 new capital projects were announced in semiconductors, solar/alternative energy, auto parts, military engineering, and life sciences.

Sterling Heights was the winning location for BAE Systems' $58.4 million expansion, beating out California and Alabama. BAE Systems is converting a large industrial property into a prototyping and test facility to produce armament systems for the U.S. military. The expansion received over $27 million in tax breaks and will create more than 1,000 jobs during the next decade.

In the alternative energy sector, Global Wind Systems is investing $32.3 million to build a facility in Novi, which may ultimately create 800 jobs. A $7.3 million state tax credit helped convince the company to select Novi over competing sites in the Midwest.

And not only is Hemlock Semiconductor, the maker of polysilicon, building a new Clarksville, Tennessee, facility, but it is also expanding its operations in Hemlock, Michigan, which is where the company is based. This is the third major expansion announced at the Michigan site during the past five years. In total, Hemlock has committed to invest as much as $2.5 billion at the site during this time frame.

Pennsylvania - The first solar silicon facility in the Northeast is being built by AE Polysilicon Corp. in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The $49 million solar silicon plant will produce granular silicon. The state provided more than $7 million in low-interest loans and grants and a 13-year tax holiday from most taxes.

With more than $2 billion in business tax reductions since 2004, Pennsylvania has been highly successful at attracting investment. Growth industries include advanced manufacturing, information technology, and life sciences. Sizeable capital projects were launched last year in manufacturing, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and alternative energy, as well as distribution facilities.

After a yearlong search, Church & Dwight Co. chose York County, Pennsylvania, for a 1.1-million-square-foot laundry detergent manufacturing facility and distribution center. "We received exceptional cooperation from York County and Pennsylvania in terms of site development, building design, permits, and incentives," said James Craigie, CEO for Church & Dwight.

In the Philadelphia suburb of Harleysville, Almac Group, a life sciences company has started construction on a $100 million, 240,000-square-foot North American research and development headquarters campus. Almac received $9 million in economic subsidies from the state and local governments.

Texas - the 2008 Gold Shovel recipient - continues to be a top economic performer, anchored by the $295 million Enterprise Fund and Texas Economic Development Bank. In 2008 major investments were announced in manufacturing, textiles, technology, and energy. One of the largest is the $1.1 billion SandRidge facility near Fort Stockton. This joint venture between SandRidge Energy and Occidental Petroleum Corp. will extract carbon dioxide from natural gas.

With $1.65 million in funding from the Texas Enterprise Fund, Brazil-based Santana Textiles is building a $171 million denim manufacturing plant in Edinburg. Santana Textiles is South America's largest denim fabric manufacturer. This project, which is its first venture into the United States, will employ 800 people.

Texas is also attracting white-collar jobs. Research in Motion (RIM), the famous creator of the Blackberry, is moving its U.S. headquarters to Irving, Texas. "RIM continues to expand its operations to address the growing market for BlackBerry products," said Jim Balsillie, CEO for RIM. "With a talented work force and strong infrastructure, Irving is an excellent location for our company."

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