Loss of Toyota jobs leads to political finger-pointing - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Loss of Toyota jobs leads to political finger-pointing

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The fallout from Toyota's decision to close its facility in northern Kentucky could reach all the way to the state capitol in Frankfort.

The announcement has touched off a political blame-game.

Republicans already control the State Senate and are just a handful of seats away from taking the House. They believe Toyota's decision to move more than 1,000 jobs to Texas helps make their case for GOP control.

Gov
. Steve Beshear says he was blind-sided by Toyota's announcement. He says the company informed him last Friday, and he received a letter dated April 28. Beshear says there's not much anyone could have done to influence Toyota's decision.

"They decided early on that they wanted a new, neutral site. It wasn't going to be in any of the three states where they were already, and so we never did get a chance to compete for that," said Beshear.

But Republicans are laying the blame at the feet of Beshear and his fellow Democrats. Senate floor leader Damon Thayer quickly released a statement saying, "Kentucky loses opportunities to bring in new companies because of our business climate. It's time for us to hold Democratic legislators responsible for these lost jobs."

Sen. Dan Seum (R-Fairdale) says Kentucky is at a disadvantage because the Democratic-controlled House has blocked pro-business legislation such as right to work, that has already passed in some surrounding states.

"We have a group of people, especially over in the House side, that are very anti-business and don't know how to create jobs, apparently," said Seum.

Republican Rep. Addia Wuchner's district includes the Toyota facility. While she does not say the company's move could have been prevented, she does say it should put Kentucky on notice.

"We have to be competitive. We have to be in the game of attracting companies to come here," she said.

But Beshear insists Kentucky is doing just fine, and has had more hits than misses, especially considering the recession.

"You're going to have somebody who leaves every so often. That's just the nature of the game. All of the companies we're getting are coming from someplace else, they're leaving someplace else. So, no, I'm not concerned with our business climate. We got a great business climate," he said.

Beshear points out that 300 jobs are being moved to Toyota's Georgetown plant, and that the company will build a new engineering facility there.

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