would create 500 new jobs, but many would be near minimum wage
Ironically, the company that manufactures one of the best known 'poverty jobs' may lose out on a tax break in Bexar County, due to low wages, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Maruchan Corporation is asking Bexar County Commissioners for a 10 year, $5.7 million tax break on property at I-35 and Fisher Road in southwest Bexar County, so it can build a massive distribution warehouse to ship Ramen Noodles across North America. The facility would employ more than 500 people. Maruchan is the largest maker of the versitle noodles in the world.
But Commissioner Paul Elizondo balked when he heard that most of the 500 employees would be contractors who would be paid minimum wage, not the designated 'living wage' of $8.50 an hour which the county has set as the threshold for receiving tax abatements.
"This county shouldn't be in the business of developing low paying jobs," Elizondo said, saying that would be a return to the old days, when employers were attracted to San Antonio and Bexar County simply because they 'wouldn't have to pay their employees very much.'
The county voted to continue negotiations with Maruchan, but indicated that it would not be excited about subsidizing minimum wage jobs.
"I don't want to be part of enhancing and returning San Antonio to the concept that it's a low wage community," Elizondo said.
County Economic Development Director David Marquez pointed out that some three dozen jobs with Maruchan itself which would be created with the warehouse would in fact pay substantially above the minimum wage, and he said it's unfair to punish Maruchan for what its contractors are doing.
"In any other company, Microsoft or Toyota, we only ever actually count the direct jobs," he said, adding that upward pressures on wages, especially in south Bexar County where Eagle Ford employment is growing, would bring market forces to bear that would raise wages. He points out that the proposed Maruchan facility is near to the offices of several oilfield contractors which pay far more than Maruchan's contractors are proposing.
But County Judge Nelson Wolff pointed out that the county would likely not be willing to approve millions of dollars in tax breaks if the 37 direct jobs Maruchan is proposing were the only jobs the company was creating.
The proposal would likely also include repairs to Fisher Road to accommodate the large trucks which Maruchan would be running into and out of the warehouse.
Elizondo said it would be counter productive for the county to give up tax revenue to create low paying jobs.
"I think that we should support jobs that a family can send a child to college on," he said. "That would be progress."