As executives of the Big Three auto giants go hat in hand to Capitol Hill in search of $34-billion in government loans, efforts are underway to convince Missourians that the bailout is good for this state and this country.
Among the bailout supporters taking part in a conference call with Missouri reporters was Fenton Mayor Dennis Hancock, whose community has seen the impact bad times in the auto industry. The recent idling of one of the city’s Chrysler plants has already had an economic impact.
"We know the direct impact of the closing of Chrysler – the South Plant," says Hancock. "We’re estimating that to be somewhere in terms of tax revenues for the city, somewhere around $250,000 a year. What we don’t know and we don’t know how to measure is the impact of the ripple in the local economy – the other businesses, the suppliers, and those types of businesses."
Dick Fleming, President of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association in St. Louis says action is needed – and now: "We believe that immediate action at the federal level is critical in moving the three companies in question and the impacts that they have on the rest of the economy towards a more sustainable business model."
Fleming says the ripple effect on the economy would put thousands of jobs at risk throughout the country if Congress does not act. As for how things would be affected in his region: "Specifically, a closure of the General Motors plant in Wentzville or the Chrysler plant in Fenton would shut down not only those primary jobs but will impact thousands of other jobs – the network of suppliers, vendors, businesses that provide goods and services to them."