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Letter: Keeping Willmar competitive

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I understand the arguments against the city of Willmar using tax increment financing to sell land in the industrial park for Jennie-O to expand their corporate headquarters in Willmar. A large corporation that is a subsidiary of an even larger corporation (Hormel) probably has plenty of money for expansion and infrastructure.

There is a flaw to this logic, however.

Willmar has been home to Jennie-O since its inception and whether we like it or not, if the city didn’t offer some sort of financing for expansion, other cities in and out of Minnesota would have. The reality of the situation is that Willmar is competing against many other cities and towns for a limited number of corporations that are prospering. Willmar’s economic and political leaders did what they needed to do to keep Willmar competitive and viable in this business sector.

Jennie-O’s expansion will consolidate their executive professionals into a corporate headquarters from various towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin and will serve to improve all sectors of the economy in Willmar. It would have been a shame for us not to invest $238,072 for millions of dollars every year in return.

City leaders — don’t rest on your laurels! Use the tax increment financing to fill the industrial park with good, viable businesses from all economic sectors (particularly agriculture) to ensure that Willmar is a premiere city in the region.

Scott Thaden

Willmar

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