Last week, Kansas taxpayers learned about a questionable economic development deal that rewards Cargill with $1.6 million in funding for essentially reducing its workforce and then bringing it back to existing levels over a 24-month period. The states interim Commerce Secretary Bob North defended the deal, saying, The purpose for the PEAK retention package was to keep the headquarters in Wichita rather than lose the project to another state.
Let us first state we are glad Cargill is retaining its operations in Wichita. It is a valued employer important to the Kansas economy and has invested considerable resources in local community initiatives across the state, most notably the Kansas Food Bank.
Our concerns rest with the structure of the deal and the reliance of companies on economic development initiatives funded by taxpayers at the local and state level.