LM Wind Power, a Denmark-based wind blade company, is slashing jobs at its Little Rock factory, sparking concerns over the future of the wind industry in Arkansas.
On Friday the company announced it was laying off 234 Little Rock workers.
“Arkansas has done better than a lot of other states in this down economic time but now some of this is starting to hit us here,” said Representative Tim Griffin.
LM Wind Power blames a lack of demand for the layoffs. Governor Beebe also pointed to the chance that a federal tax credit for the wind industry won’t be renewed by Congress by the end of the year.
“It’s been in existence for a number of years and with congressional inaction it’s scheduled to go away,” said Governor Mike Beebe.
He says if the tax credits do go away it would have a ripple affect all over the state.
“All these wind energy companies, and not just LM, we’ve got several in the state that we’ve recruited from overseas, depend on that tax credit to be viable,” he added.
Griffin supports a temporary 4-year extension before overseas companies like LM stay overseas.
“We have to make this country the only place, the best place to do business and create jobs,” said Griffin.
However, Governor Beebe had tough words for a congress he says is meddling in an industry too close to home.
“I don’t want to get beat by Europe or China or anybody else, particularly since Arkansas has such an influence and because we have so many jobs,” said Beebe. “So I hope Congress will get off their…I hope they get after it.”