Nowhere in his recent op-ed in opposition to a local minimum wage did Ted Longacre, CEO of Mesa Foods, mention that his company has received substantial public subsidies that the entire community and state are paying for.
According to a state database, in 2012 Mesa Foods was approved for $850,000 in corporate income tax breaks. In 2014 the company received preliminary approval for another $700,000 in subsidies that include allowing the company to keep a portion of its employees’ income taxes. Mesa Foods also received $120,000 in training funds from the local workforce board in 2012.
Mr. Longacre says he pays a starting wage of $8.50 an hour with an opportunity for raises at least twice a year, and the state database says the company pays $16.86 an hour on average for existing employees and $11.80 on average for the new employees they’re planning to add.
Given what the company already pays and how much we are all supporting it with public dollars, the modest wage increase over three years the council is now considering seems reasonable — especially given the boost to the local economy and lives of workers that will result.